Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009

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1. This speech culminated an historic campaign and the first election of a non-white president in the United States.

2. Obama appeals to our emotions by citing a long list of people that have toiled, traveled, and sacrificed their lives for freedom.

3. The speech heralded a new era of American governance, and received thunderous applause.

4. The example of difficult odds faced by a “huddled band of patriots” lead by George Washington supported Obama’s larger argument about the price and the promise of citizenship.

5. Obama frequently invokes scripture and God’s promise that “all are equal” to argue by principle and emphasize our commitment to liberty.

6. The metaphor of our “patchwork heritage” is used to identify an American strength, and to also highlight our common humanity.

7. People who question the vision for the future are denied credibility as cynics making “stale political arguments”.

8. Delivered against the backdrop of the Capitol, before over a million people, the speech was a powerful experience for many.

9. Obama does not attempt to gain credibility by telling the story of his upbringing and his own multi-cultural heritage.

10. Remembering our brave soldiers as the “guardians of our liberty” and the “spirit of service” invokes an emotional patriotic response.

11. Obama’s ethos is enhanced by quoting George Washington and concluding the speech on how this generation must “come forth” to meet our challenges.

12. The speech downplays fears of war, terror and American decline in favor of hope and an American spirit of greatness.

13. As the first African-American president, Obama steps to the podium with significant initial credibility, including character and shared values.

14. Political commentators remarked on the clarity and power of the inaugural address, but it was the audience and reactions from citizens around the country that demonstrated a lasting impact.

15. Obama rejects the fallacy of a false choice between safety and ideals ​and pledged to uphold our principles of liberty and keep the nation strong and safe.

16. Elected as the first African-American U.S. President, the audience for the inauguration was one of the largest ever

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