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Inaugural Addresses

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We looked at the data. Here’s a breakdown of some key statistics about the nation’s incoming presidents’ addresses, how long they spoke, how well, and more.

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Inaugural Addresses

  1. 1. Number of words in George Washington’s second inaugural address, the shortest in history 135 Number of words in William Henry Harrison’s inaugural address, the longest in history 8,460 Number of presidents who gave more than one inaugural speech Number of inaugural speeches given by Franklin D. Roosevelt Democrats & Republicans Breaking it down by party affiliation, you can see that the two most prominent U.S. political parties of the modern era have given almost the exact same number of speeches. One small difference? Republicans tend to be slightly more wordy—at a median of about 2,400 words per speech compared to the Democrats’ 1,700. The Flesch-Kincaid grade score is used to determine the “readability” of a passage. The lower the grade score, the easier it is to understand. Recent speeches have trended around a 10th grade reading level, which means most 10th graders would understand the speech. Here, you can see that the grade score for inaugural addresses decreased steadily from 1789 until the 1930’s. From that point until today, it has remained relatively stable. So, presidents are making their speeches more colloquial and concise. Reading Level Across Time George Washington* and John Adams tie for “most difficult to understand” speech. Their talks were aimed at college graduates and above. *first term LOVE DATA AS MUCH AS WE DO? Come work for us: careers.boozallen.com TAME YOUR DATA. Try our Sailfish platform for free: sailfish.boozallen.com Federalist 1 INAUGURAL ADDRESSES We looked at the data. Here’s a breakdown of some key statistics about the nation’s incoming presidents’ addresses, how long they spoke, how well, and more. Number of inaugural addresses 57 17 4 Inaugural Speeches are Trending Easier to Read Flesch-KincaidGradeLevel Year 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1789 1797 1805 1813 1821 1829 1837 1845 1853 1861 1869 1877 1885 1893 1901 1909 1917 1925 1933 1941 1949 1957 1965 1973 1981 1989 1997 2005 2013 Presidents who’ve given inaugural addresses 38 Republican 23 Whig 2 None 2 Democrat 22 Democratic- Republican 7
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We looked at the data. Here’s a breakdown of some key statistics about the nation’s incoming presidents’ addresses, how long they spoke, how well, and more.

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