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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obama and Allusion

As mentioned before, it is common for presidents to allude to historic rhetoric, especially in their inaugural addresses.  President Obama did so several times yesterday:

"...that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth."
JFK's 1961 inaugural: "...that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God ... here on earth God's work must truly be our own."
"This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience."
JFK's 1961 inaugural: "...that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace."
"Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together."

A mashup of  Lincoln’s second inaugural – “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword” -- his 1858 House Divided speech – “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free” – and Nixon’s 1969 inaugural – “No man can be fully free while his neighbor is not. To go forward at all is to go forward together.”
"My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together."
Clinton's 1993 inaugural: "Well, my fellow Americans, this is our time. Let us embrace it."
"But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action."
Clinton's 1993 inaugural: Thomas Jefferson believed that to preserve the very foundations of our Nation, we would need dramatic change from time to time.
"That is what will give real meaning to our creed." (The word "creed" appears five times in the address.)
 “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed”  --  Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream”