Fare thee well

On January 10, 2017, President Obama delivered a farewell speech to the nation from Chicago. The 49-minute long speech comprised of 4,266 words, and the top words were: ‘just’ (25 mentions), ‘democracy’ (21 mentions), ‘will’ (19 mentions), ‘America’ (16 mentions) and ‘change’ (16 mentions).

“The work of democracy has always been hard. It has been contentious. Sometimes it has been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.” – Barack Obama

Notice the focus on the word ‘democracy.’ The speech begins with what we all knew he would talk about – his legacy as President.  But he doesn’t dwell on himself too long. Obama spends most of the speech commenting on the ‘state of the democracy’ and identifying ‘threats’ to the country’s institutions. Compare this to President Bush’s speech in 2009 which was primarily a self-assessment of his presidency, with the top words: ‘nation’ (13 mentions), ‘will’ (12 mentions), ‘America’ (11 mentions) and people (9 mentions).

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your president. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this nation we love.” – George W. Bush

You can find Obama’s complete farewell address here, and Bush’s complete farewell address here.


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