Search form

Featured Graphic

Click here to return to the article

Comparing Inaugural Addresses



  • Language Arts
  • Technology


  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students compare and contrast inaugural addresses of past presidents of the United States.



  • define the term inaugural address.
  • use the Internet to research past inaugural addresses.
  • study the inaugural addresses of two past presidents.
  • compare and contrast the inaugural speeches of two past presidents


inaugural address, compare, contrast, president, inauguration, speeches

Materials Needed

  • computer(s) with Internet access
  • writing paper
  • pens or pencils
  • computer(s) with spreadsheet program and printer (optional)

Lesson Plan

  • Discuss the meaning of the term inaugural address. Discuss why a new president gives an inaugural address, or a speech, during the inaugural ceremonies.
  • Explain that each inaugural address was unique. For example, William Henry Harrison, the ninth president, gave the longest inaugural address. His speech was 10,000 words and lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes. George Washington's second inaugural address was the shortest; his speech was only 135 words. Read to students George Washington' second inaugural address from George Washington: Second Inaugural Address.
  • Assign each student two presidents. Have students research and study their assigned presidents' inaugural speeches from Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States or Presidential Inaugural Addresses.
  • Have students create charts listing the similarities and differences of the speeches of their assigned presidents.
  • Have students present their charts to the class.

Variation 1: If you have access to computers with spreadsheet programs, have students create their charts as spreadsheets.
Variation 2: Have students compare the inaugural speeches of presidents who served more than one term.
Extension: Have students compare the 2001 inaugural address to one or more past inaugural addresses.


Evaluate students' charts and presentations.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis


Originally published 01/15/2001
Last updated 1/19/2017