The Longest Inauguration Address Ever Was Over An Hour Long
Businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump officially becomes President Donald Trump on Friday, Jan. 20, in one of the most divisive inaugurations in the nation's history. After he takes the presidential oath, Trump is expected to make an inaugural address, which will be remembered in history alongside greats like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We know Trump likes to talk, but will Trump's inaugural address be longer than the longest inauguration address in U.S. history? It's doubtful.
The longest inaugural address may surprise you — it's not the most legendary, famous or even infamous presidents who stood the longest at the podium on Inauguration Day. In fact, the longest inaugural address was given, ironically, by the president who served the shortest in office.
According to The American Presidency Project, President William Henry Harrison delivered the longest inauguration speech. The speech was nearly 8,500 words long. For some comparison, President Barack Obama's first inaugural address was roughly 2,400 words long, while President Bill Clinton's first inaugural speech was just 1600 words long.
So, how long does it take to deliver 9,000 words? According to the Britannica Blog, Harrison spoke for over 90 minutes without stopping. He also delivered his speech without a coat and hat, which led, unfortunately, to the illness that ultimately killed him. Harrison became sick with pneumonia not long after his inauguration, and died just a month later. President John Tyler succeeded him.
Who had the second longest inauguration speech in U.S. history? That honor belongs to President William Howard Taft, who delivered an inaugural address with over 5,000 words, according to The American Presidency Project. President James K. Polk also delivered a hefty speech of 4,800 words.
Who had the shortest inauguration speech in American history? It was, in fact, George Washington, the first U.S. president. Washington delivered just 130 words at his second presidential inauguration in 1793. Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration speech in 1965 was also pretty short, coming in at just 700 words. (Lincoln's first inaugural address, however, was pretty lengthy, at almost 4,000 words.) And in 1945, FDR said just 500 words at his third inauguration (the only president in history to have three terms).
While Trump spoke for a substantial amount of time during the inauguration on Friday, he did not — thankfully — speak for over 90 minutes. It looks like Harrison still owns the title of "Longest Inauguration Speech Ever" — for now.