Bill Clinton - First Inaugural Address

  • First Inaugural Address of William J. Clinton

  • Bill Clinton

    My fellow citizens :

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  • Today we celebrate the mystery of American renewal.

  • This ceremony is held in the depth of winter.

  • Bill Clinton

    But, by the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force the spring.

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  • A spring reborn in the world's oldest democracy, that brings forth the vision and courage to reinvent America.

  • When our founders boldly declared America's independence to the world and our purposes to the Almighty, they knew that America, to endure, would have to change.

  • Bill Clinton

    Not change for change's sake, but change to preserve America's ideals; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness.

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  • Though we march to the music of our time, our mission is timeless.

  • Each generation of Americans must define what it means to be an American.

  • Bill Clinton

    On behalf of our nation, I salute my predecessor, President Bush, for his half-century of service to America.

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  • And I thank the millions of men and women whose steadfastness and sacrifice triumphed over Depression, fascism and Communism.

  • Today, a generation raised in the shadows of the Cold War assumes new responsibilities in a world warmed by the sunshine of freedom but threatened still by ancient hatreds and new plagues.

  • Bill Clinton

    Raised in unrivaled prosperity, we inherit an economy that is still the world's strongest, but is weakened by business failures, stagnant wages, increasing inequality, and deep divisions among our people.

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  • When George Washington first took the oath I have just sworn to uphold, news traveled slowly across the land by horseback and across the ocean by boat.

  • Now, the sights and sounds of this ceremony are broadcast instantaneously to billions around the world.

  • Bill Clinton

    Communications and commerce are global; investment is mobile; technology is almost magical; and ambition for a better life is now universal.

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  • We earn our livelihood in peaceful competition with people all across the earth.

  • Profound and powerful forces are shaking and remaking our world, and the urgent question of our time is whether we can make change our friend and not our enemy.

  • Bill Clinton

    This new world has already enriched the lives of millions of Americans who are able to compete and win in it.

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