Date of Publication

5-16-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Political Science & International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Dena Levy, Associate Professor

Abstract

This essay aims to show how American presidential Inaugural Addresses change throughout presidencies, and analyzes whether or not those changes are indicative of an evolution throughout the presidency itself. Within this research, an analysis will be done on the Inaugural Addresses for the first and second terms of both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. This study discusses possible reasons why changes may occur from the first term of a presidency to the second term, and, if there are indeed noticeable changes, what those changes could mean on a larger scale. Possible changes that could be seen include the topics mentioned, the tone in which they are mentioned, and how willing they are to discuss partisan and controversial ideas. This analysis will be done through a content analysis of each Inaugural Address for the above presidents, looking for mentions of religion, country, unity, economy, and war. The hypothesis behind this research is that the Inaugural Address of a first term president will be more likely to contain content aimed at attracting votes for the next election, while the Inaugural Address of a second term president will likely have more insight into the personal views of the president, as they are no longer trying to attract new votes.

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