Obama Inauguration Trivia: Do You Know Which President Gave the Shortest Speech? The Longest?
President Barack Obama’s plans for his second swearing-in will break a few traditions, but so far there’s no word on whether he’ll set any new records for an inaugural address.
Presidents have always used the occasion “to articulate their hopes and dreams for a nation,” according to Congressional records. Some have been mercifully succinct — in fact, one delivered only 135 words.
On the other extreme, one president literally talked himself to death.
That was William Henry Harrison, who stood outside in a snowstorm without a hat or coat for one hour and 45 minutes to deliver his inaugural address on March 4, 1841, according to Encyclopædia Britannica. He contracted pneumonia and died a month later, making his term in office the shortest in American history.
Harrison’s speech set the record for length of 8,495 words. By comparison, Obama’s first inaugural speech was 2,420 words.
So who gave that super short speech of only 135 words (which remains the record for brevity)? And what did he say?
It was none other than George Washington, speaking ahead of his second swearing in ceremony in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793, according to Senate records.
Here’s the transcript:
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.
Washington also added the words “so help me God” to the oath of office after repeating the Constitution’s prescribed oath at his first inauguration and, in what Brittanica calls the “most meaningful” gesture in U.S. presidential inauguration history, Washington then bent down to kiss the Bible.
(H/T: Eserver; Front page photo credit: AP)
More Inauguration News:
- Obama Puts Another Twist on His Upcoming Presidential Oath (This One Involves the Bible)
- Obama’s Inaugural Invocation Pick Breaks With 200+ Years of American Tradition
- Shock Video Surfaces: Meat Cleaver-Wielding Man Shouts ‘You People Will Never Be Safe!’ Moments After Gruesome London Attack 504 Comments
- Confusion Erupts in IRS Hearing After Lois Lerner Tries to Plead the 5th — Watch It All Unfold 469 Comments
- The Tense Exchange Between Rep. Trey Gowdy and the Former IRS Head You’ve Been Waiting for…and It Doesn’t Disappoint 389 Comments
- Pope Francis’ Sermon Sparks Debate: ‘Even the Atheists’ Have Been Redeemed ‘With the Blood of Christ’ 388 Comments
- Anti-Gay Bias or Fair Punishment? New Details Emerge About High School Student’s Lesbian Relationship With a Minor 327 Comments
- ‘I Swear I Will Kill You…F**k You’: Conservative Comedian Gets Death Threats Following Anti-Muhammad Video Read More
- ‘We…Aren’t Going to Take S**t From Homophobes’: Mysterious Pro-Firearm Ads Use Gays, Seemingly Topless Lesbians to Rail Against Gun Control 202 Comments
- Beck Issues Challenge to People of Faith in Wake of Okla. Tornado: ‘What Have You Done?’ Read More
- ‘Islamic Jihad, Islamic Jihad!: Michelle Malkin Rips Progressives, Clashes With Lib Radio Host Over Islamic Terrorism and the London Machete Attack 139 Comments
- Venezuelan President Blames Toilet Paper Shortage on the Rich Read More
- This Terrible Chart Shows the Change in Food Stamp Participation Over the Last 10 Years Read More
- Disney Makes Absolutely Mortifying Photoshop Mistake Read More
- Trey Gowdy at It Again — This Time with a Jack Bauer Reference! 101 Comments
- Emails Released: Congress Was Asking for Updates on IG’s IRS Audit Before 2012 Election Read More
- The Incredible Role Facebook Played in the Aftermath of Devastating Okla. Tornado Read More
- Tech Company Demonstrates Remote Disabling of a ‘Smart Gun’ 125 Comments
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- Milestones for Guantanamo Bay detention center
- Jurors deadlock on Jodi Arias penalty; retrial set
- Shelton, Underwood coming to aid of Oklahomans
- Procter & Gamble brings back A.G. Lafley as CEO
- 87-year-old woman loses to Trump in civil case
- Maine governor moves out of office over TV dispute
- 10 Things to Know for Friday
- Belmoktar claims responsibility for Niger attack