Fellow Citizens:That's one hundred and thirty-five words. His first inaugural, which can be found here, is 1434 words long.
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.
Just for comparison's sake, Obama's inaugural was 2486 words. George W Bush was 1585 words the first time and 2074 words the second. That isn't progress. I pick on these two solely because they are the two most recent occupants of the office and they conveniently come from both parties and not to make any point about either party or any political ideology.
More than length it is the incidence of two particular words that really strikes me in these speeches. In Washington's second address above, the word "we" does not appear even once. In his longer first address it appears exactly once in the following context:
I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.That is, it appears in the context of a tribute to the public virtue of his country and her citizens.
Otherwise, Washington used the word "I", a choice entirely appropriate because he was about to take an oath in which he promised to uphold certain duties.
In his first inaugural, George W Bush used the word "we" 36 times (plus one more in a quote from Jefferson) and the word "I" 11 times.
In his second inaugural, he used the word "we" 47 times and "I" 8 times.
In his inaugural, Barack Obama used the word "we" 63 times and the word "I" only 5 times.
That is not progress.
And the word "we" in these speeches is not used to praise Americans but to call them to duty. Think about that. The president is taking an oath of office to the citizens of his country and he spends much more time telling them what is expected of them than what they have a right to expect of him. This is pushing the responsibility downward onto the people.
Again, compare that with what Washington said:
... 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.