Harrison's inauguration address was the longest to date, clocking in at 8,445 words. It still ranks as the second-longest inauguration speech behind Lincoln's 10,541-word address.
Harrison's other speeches were all under 1,000 words. They are as follows: his acceptance speech after being nominated by McKinley; his farewell address; and a short message thanking Congress for granting him an annual salary of $25,000.
He did not deliver an inaugural address on March 4, 1891 because he didn't become president until March 5. He probably used this time to write down some notes about what he wanted to say during the ceremony.
The original manuscript of Harrison's inauguration address is held by the Indiana State Library and is available online. It's worth reading if you want to see how presidential inaugurations have changed over time.
Harrison died before he could deliver his second inaugural address. The first female candidate elected president, McKinley, also died before she could give her inaugural address. And so both men remain the only presidents to die before they could be sworn in for a second term.
The longest sentence of John Adams' inaugural address, which totaled 2,308 words, was 727 words long, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The second longest sentence was 596 words by Ronald Reagan.
The longest sentence in Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, which totaled 2,542 words, was 652 words long. The shortest sentence was just 52 words by Donald Trump.
The longest sentence in George Washington's first inaugural address, which totaled 2,638 words, was 712 words long. The shortest sentence was just 51 words.
The longest sentence in Thomas Jefferson's second inaugural address, which totaled 2,675 words, was 718 words long. The shortest sentence was just 52 words.
The longest sentence in James Madison's first inaugural address, which totaled 2,712 words, was 719 words long.
The longest sentence in Andrew Johnson's first inaugural address, which totaled 2,744 words, was 730 words long.
The longest sentence in Franklin Pierce's first inaugural address, which totaled 2,814 words, was 740 words long. The shortest sentence was just 53 words.
Since Washington, every president has given an inauguration address. Following Washington's second inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth address on January 20, 1945, was the shortest, at only 559 words. Ronald Reagan's first address, which he delivered by videotape in front of a studio audience, was the longest at 3,628 words.
The earliest known presidential inauguration took place on March 4, 1797. George Washington had been elected the first president under the new government five days earlier and was sworn in on February 25. The ceremony was held at what is now known as the United States Capitol and was attended by members of Congress, foreign diplomats, and several of Washington's former colleagues from the House of Representatives who had been elected to other offices around the country. In his opening statement, which was read by a clerk from the Senate, Senator John Adams of Massachusetts referred to "the collective wisdom of America" while Speaker of the House Thomas Jefferson represented the Union.
The last inauguration before Lincoln was on March 4, 1825. His death four months later led to the first official presidential election in America. The votes were tallied up and William H. Harrison emerged as the winner. He died a few weeks into his term so his vice president, John Tyler, assumed office as the 19th president.
According to UCSB's American Presidency Project, Clinton's 2000 address was the longest since 1966, lasting about an hour and a half. With nearly 33,000 words, Jimmy Carter holds the record for the longest written address. This post was first published in 2010 and again in 2015. It has been updated with more recent data.
He delivered the speech on January 19, 2000. At the time it was estimated that it was worth about $400,000 to $500,000 to give the speech. That makes it the most expensive speech ever given.
Clinton's speech was given at a time when his presidential campaign was very much alive. He had recently won three primaries and appeared poised to continue his victory lap around the country. However, due to controversy surrounding his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, this momentum came to a screeching halt when the White House admitted he had lied under oath about having no sexual relationship with her.
Despite this, Clinton decided to deliver a highly praised speech in which he praised America and its citizens for their openness to change. He also spoke about the need for civility in politics. Some have called it one of the best speeches ever given by a candidate for president. Others call it one of the biggest mistakes of his career because it contributed to his loss in November.