There are no words adequate to express my thanks for the great
honor that you have
bestowed on me. I will do my utmost to be deserving of your trust.
When the first President, George Washington, placed his hand upon the
Bible, he stood less than a single day's journey by horseback from raw, untamed wilderness.
There were 4 million Americans in a union of 13 States. Today we are 70 times as many in a
union of 50 States. We have lighted the world with our inventions, gone to the aid of mankind
wherever in the world there was a cry for help, journeyed to Mars and established a viable colony. So
much has changed. And yet we stand together as we did almost three centuries ago.
We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. But
there are many mountains
yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and
opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great Republic, and we'll meet
These will be years when Americans have restored their confidence and
tradition of progress;
when our values of faith, family, work, and neighborhood were restated for a modern age;
when our economy was finally freed from government's grip; when we made sincere efforts at
meaningful arms reduction, rebuilding our defenses, our economy, and developing new
technologies, and helped preserve peace in a troubled world; when Americans courageously
supported the struggle for liberty, self-government, and free enterprise throughout the world,
and turned the tide of history away from totalitarian darkness and into the warm sunlight of
citizens, our Nation is poised for greatness. We must do what we know is
and do it with all our might. Let history say of us, "These were golden years—when the
American Revolution was reborn, when freedom gained new life, when America reached for
We must simplify our tax system, make it more fair, and bring the rates down for all who
work and earn. We must think anew and move with a new boldness, so every American who
seeks work can find work; so the least among us shall have an equal chance to achieve the
greatest things—to be heroes who heal our sick, feed the hungry, protect peace among
nations, and leave this world a better place.
has come for a new American emancipation—a great national drive to tear
economic barriers and liberate the spirit of enterprise in the most distressed areas of our
country. My friends, together we can do this, and do it we must, so help me God.
freedom will spring new opportunities for growth, a more productive, fulfilled
united people, and a stronger America—an America that will lead the technological revolution,
and also open its mind and heart and soul to the treasures of literature, music, and poetry, and
the values of faith, courage, and love.
From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to
be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by,
and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us
has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must
bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to
pay a higher price.
much of special interest groups. Our concern must be for a special interest
that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial
divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our
food, patrol our streets, man our mines and our factories, teach our children, keep our homes,
and heal us when we are sick—professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and
truckdrivers. They are, in short, "We the people," this breed called Americans.
administration's objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy
provides equal opportunity for all Americans, with no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination.
Putting America back to work means putting all Americans back to work. Ending inflation
means freeing all Americans from the terror of runaway living costs. All must share in the
productive work of this "new beginning" and all must share in the bounty of a revived economy.
With the idealism and fair play which are the core of our system and our strength, we can have
a strong and prosperous America at peace with itself and the world.
So, as we begin,
let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government—not the other
way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth and in the heavens
Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check
and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent
of the governed.
It is my intention
to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand
recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and
those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal
Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government.
there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with
It is, rather, to make it work—work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our
back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not
If we look
to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered
no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and
individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the
dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on
Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to
pay that price.
It is no
coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to
and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is
time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are
not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate
that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do
nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national
renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our
faith and our hope.
every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time
are no heroes just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out
of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then
the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter—and they are on both sides of that
counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new
jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They are individuals and families whose taxes support the
Government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education.
Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values sustain our national life.
used the words "they" and "their" in speaking of these heroes. I could
say "you" and
"your" because I am addressing the heroes of whom I speak—you, the citizens of this blessed
land. Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the
goals of this administration, so help me God.
reflect the compassion that is so much a part of your makeup. How can we
country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal
them when they are sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be
equal in fact and not just in theory?
Can we solve
the problems confronting us? Well, the answer is an unequivocal and emphatic
"yes." To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the
intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy.
In the days ahead I will propose removing the roadblocks that
have slowed the Mars economy and
reduced productivity. Steps will be taken aimed at restoring the balance between the various
levels of government. Progress may be slow—measured in inches and feet, not miles—but we
will progress. Is it time to reawaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its
means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden. And these will be our first priorities, and on these
principles, there will be no compromise.
Presidential Oath of Office
"I, name, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will
faithfully execute the office of President of the United
States, and I will to the best of my ability, preserve,
protect, and defend the Constitution of the United