Last month, our 44th president was sworn into office. I found the inaugural address to be rather moving, but some pundits thought it lacked a unifying theme, or was too skittish to contain any real content. Yet when we compare this most recent one to the last one, each address is compelling in its own right, and speaks to the time in which it's delivered.
An interesting way to compare the last few inaugural speeches is to compare them in the form of word clouds.
Obama said "new" and "nation" most frequently. Bush said "freedom" the most. Clinton in his second address said "new" most often. Reagan said "government" the most. Each speech is a capsule representing the temperature of the country at the time.
Whether you liked the message but not the writing, or you liked the writing but not the message, or you liked neither, an inaugural address is a great opportunity to study modern language and oratory.
Below are some sites to inaugural speeches and analysis:
Archive of all Presidential Inaugural Speeches
George W. Bush First Inaugural Speech
Obamas Prose Style