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Link to MillerCenter.org’s transcript of speech

Summary of speech:

Taylor’s inaugural address is a very boilerplate level speech, enumerating the rights and responsibilities of the presidency and his oath to uphold them.

Thoughts on Transcript:

Zachary Taylor took 1090 words to do what George Washington did in 135.

One of the pieces that jumped out was that Taylor takes an oath to choose upstanding men for his appointments to federal positions.  Over and over this oath is taken – several times by Taylor’s contemporaries (Tyler and Polk, Jackson, etc).  It points to a growing problem: The Federal Government is increasing in power and corruption is taking hold in the rich environment.  Looking back to the first addresses, the most that the Founding Fathers talked about were the needs for a strong moral foundation for the elected officials.  To warrant a mention within Taylor’s rather spartan address points to growing discontent.

Notes on speech:

  1. Very boilerplate – a simple listing of Constitutional duties
  2. Strong reliance / acquiescence to Congress
  3. Military schools only the main difference
  4. Continuation of policy of neutrality / no entangling alliances

Phrases I have underlined, starred, or otherwise marked:

“In the performance of my new duties I shall not be without able cooperation.  The legislative and judicial branches of the Government present prominent examples of distinguished civil attainments and matured experience.”

“In reference to the Army and Navy, lately employed with so much distinction on active service, care shall be taken to insure the highest condition of efficiency, and in furtherance of that object the military and naval schools, sustained by the liberality of Congress, shall receive the special attention of the Executive.”

“… it is our interest not less than our duty to remain strictly neutral, while our geographical position, the genius of our institutions and our people, the advancing spirit of civilization, and, above all, the dictates of religion direct us to the cultivation of peaceful and friendly relations with all other powers.”

“The appointing power vested in the President imposes delicate and onerous duties.  So far as it is possible to be informed, I shall make honesty, capacity, and fidelity indispensable prerequisites to the bestowal of office, and the absence of either of these qualities shall be deemed sufficient cause for removal.”

“The high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country.  Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy, and let us seek to deserve that continuance by prudence and moderation in our councils, by well-directed attempts to assuage the bitterness which too often marks unavoidable differences of opinion, by the promulgation and practice of just and liberal principles, and by an enlarged patriotism, which shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own widespread Republic.”

Thoughts on delivery (audio and/or video of speech):

None.  They didn’t have that technology when Taylor was inaugurated.

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