Number of words in
second inaugural address,
the shortest in history
135 Number of words in
William Henry Harrison’s
inaugural address, the
longest in history
Number of presidents who
gave more than one
Number of inaugural
speeches given by
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democrats & Republicans
Breaking it down by party affiliation, you can see that the
two most prominent U.S. political parties of the modern era
have given almost the exact same number of speeches.
One small difference?
Republicans tend to be slightly more wordy—at a median
of about 2,400 words per speech compared to the
The Flesch-Kincaid grade score is used to determine the
“readability” of a passage. The lower the grade score, the
easier it is to understand. Recent speeches have trended
around a 10th grade reading level, which means most 10th
graders would understand the speech. Here, you can see
that the grade score for inaugural addresses decreased
steadily from 1789 until the 1930’s. From that point until
today, it has remained relatively stable. So, presidents are
making their speeches more colloquial and concise.
Reading Level Across Time
George Washington* and
John Adams tie for
“most difficult to
Their talks were aimed
at college graduates
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We looked at the data. Here’s a
breakdown of some key statistics
about the nation’s incoming
presidents’ addresses, how long they
spoke, how well, and more.
Inaugural Speeches are Trending Easier to Read
Presidents who’ve given