First and Second Inaugural Addresses of Modern and Traditional U.S. Presidents: An Analysis of Self-Presentational Strategies


  • Stephanie H. Smith Indiana University NW
  • George I Whitehead Salisbury University
  • Matthew F. Blackard Indiana University NW
  • Michael F. Blackard Indiana University NW



Self-presentation, U.S. presidents, ingratiation, inaugural addresses.


The present study examines the self-presentational strategies modern and traditional U.S. presidents employed in their first and second inaugural addresses. Specifically, we examined the presidents’ use of the strategies of ingratiation, self-promotion, exemplification, ingratiation, and supplication. We predicted that modern presidents would use more ingratiation than would their traditional counterparts in the first but not the second inaugural address. This prediction derives from an analysis of the president’s dependency on the public at the time of the inaugural address. In particular, the president is not as dependent on the public at the time of the second inaugural as compared with the first inaugural. We also predicted that modern presidents would use more self-promotion than would traditional presidents in the second but not the first inaugural address. And, finally we predicted that modern presidents would use more exemplification and intimidation than would traditional presidents. Our results supported several predictions.


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