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6 inauguration speeches that highlight the ongoing fight against poverty

With Inauguration Day coming up, let’s take a look back at a few inspirational inauguration addresses from Democrats and Republicans alike. We chose these particular quotes because they take aim at the issue of global poverty, a cause that ONE and its members have shared with many past presidents.

1. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Second Inaugural Address, 1957

“In too much of the earth there is want, discord, danger… From the deserts of North Africa to the islands of the South Pacific, one third of all mankind has entered upon a historic struggle for a new freedom: freedom from grinding poverty. Across all continents, nearly a billion people seek, sometimes almost in desperation, for the skills and knowledge and assistance by which they may satisfy from their own resources, the material wants common to all mankind.”

2. John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, 1961

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life… Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.”

3. Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Address, 1977

” The world itself is now dominated by a new spirit. Peoples more numerous and more politically aware are craving and now demanding their place in the sun—not just for the benefit of their own physical condition, but for basic human rights. The passion for freedom is on the rise. Tapping this new spirit, there can be no nobler nor more ambitious task for America to undertake on this day of a new beginning than to help shape a just and peaceful world that is truly humane… We will be ever vigilant and never vulnerable, and we will fight our wars against poverty, ignorance, and injustice—for those are the enemies against which our forces can be honorably marshaled.”

4. Ronald Reagan’s Second Inaugural Address, 1985

“People, worldwide, hunger for the right of self-determination, for those inalienable rights that make for human dignity and progress… It is the world’s only hope, to conquer poverty and preserve peace. Every blow we inflict against poverty will be a blow against its dark allies of oppression and war. Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace.”

5. Bill Clinton’s First Inaugural Address, 1993

“To renew America, we must meet challenges abroad as well at home. There is no longer division between what is foreign and what is domestic—the world economy, the world environment, the world AIDS crisis, the world arms race—they affect us all.”

6. George W. Bush’s First Inaugural Address, 2001

“Many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do. And I can pledge our nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side.”