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Tags: inauguration | biden | abraham lincoln | franklin roosevelt | ronald reagan

Biden's Inaugural Address Can Define His Presidency

Biden's Inaugural Address Can Define His Presidency
President-elect Joe Biden (AP)

Kent Ingle By Thursday, 07 January 2021 10:39 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, President-elect Joe Biden will address the nation with his intentions as a leader. As he heads into his first term as president, Biden will be faced with a number of arduous tasks while dealing with a nation trying to withstand a pandemic.

After solidifying the votes of the Electoral College, Biden asked America ''to turn the page, as we've done throughout our history, to unite, to heal.'' What will turning the page look like for the next four years?

Historically speaking, inaugural addresses can define a presidency, particularly for presidents heading into office during a crisis. Here are three of the most poignant inaugural addresses in history that made a lasting impact and that prove to be timely for the circumstances America faces today.

Abraham Lincoln inspired unity. As the first Republican to win the presidency, President Abraham Lincoln assumed office while the country was on the cusp of the Civil War. By the time he became president in March of 1861, seven states had already left the Union and established the Confederate States of America.

In one of history's most memorable inauguration addresses, Lincoln showed his desire to lead a unified nation. In his address, he said, ''We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.''

A month later, the United States would head into a Civil War for the next four years. Lincoln delivered what he promised, even though the war would end a month after his assassination.

Franklin D. Roosevelt offered hope. President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office at the end of the Great Depression — the worst economic downturn of the industrialized world. He was believed to have won his campaign by offering a message of optimism and hope.

At his address in 1933, he said these famous words, ''So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.''

Roosevelt helped America get through the most challenging economic moments in history by helping the American people regain faith in themselves.

Ronald Reagan believed in the American people. Taking office in 1981, President Ronald Reagan was stepping into leading a nation going through a recession. The world was also in the middle of the Cold War and tensions were high between the U.S. and Iran. While addressing the nation for the first time, Reagan said, ''In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.''

Later in his address, he went on to say, ''We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.'' Reagan's two terms as president saw a flourishing economy with limited government control.

Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan are remembered for their inaugural addresses not only because they inspired a nation, but they also fulfilled what they set out to accomplish. This month, we will hear what Biden pledges to do for the American people. He has promised before to ''be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. Who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.'' He promises ''to win the confidence of the whole people …''

However, we can't forget that Biden's first actions in office may very well prove to be detrimental to the freedoms our nation was founded on. The Biden administration is reviewing policy recommendations, including the Blueprint for Positive Change 2020, that would reverse religious exemptions. The current exclusions in place permit faith-based organizations to operate on their faith convictions.

A reversal of these policies would lead to greater government interference, and it would require faith-based organizations to go against their own beliefs. How will the Biden administration unite our nation when it threatens the very freedoms they are supposed to protect?

Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the author of "Framework Leadership.'' As president of Southeastern University, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership and is also a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern's president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and in the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber Foundation. Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.

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On Wednesday, Jan. 20, president-elect Joe Biden will address the nation with his intentions as a leader. As he heads into his first term as president, Biden will be faced with a number of arduous tasks while dealing with a nation trying to withstand a pandemic.
inauguration, biden, abraham lincoln, franklin roosevelt, ronald reagan
Thursday, 07 January 2021 10:39 AM
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