Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address 2013

This study guide will help you analyze Barack Obama's second inaugural address. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, topic, speaker, audience, language, modes of persuasion, circumstances, and intention.

Presentation of the speech

Title: “Barack Obama's Inaugural Address 2013”
Speaker: Barack Obama
Context: Barack Obama beginning his second term as US President
Date of speech: January 21, 2013

Barack Obama (b. 1961) was the 44th US President and the first African-American to hold this office. He began his career as a civil rights lawyer and later became a member of the US Senate, representing the state of Illinois. He is one of the presidents with the highest approval rate among the population after two terms in office.

You can watch the speech here.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Choice of words

The choice of words reflects a focus on fundamental American values— equal opportunity, freedom, courage, creativity, resilience—etc. The speaker constantly uses the personal pronoun “we” or its possessive form “our” which are an appeal to the idea that all American share the same values, rights, and responsibilities. This is further emphasized by his use of phrases such as “we, the people”.

Many of the words used in the speech are about American qualities and suggest the speaker wants to inspire the audience to focus on those positive aspects that characterize them as Americans: “youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.” 


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Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address 2013

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