10 June 2015

The Entire History of the Nation in Just a Word or Two From 24 Different Presidents

R. Luke Dubois has created a fascinating way to see which words the presidents used most frequently in their state of the union addresses here. It's like candy for a political nerd like me.

Ronald Reagan's Most Frequently Used Words in SOTU
Here is a list of (some of) the presidents most commonly used word (or in some cases, top two or three). It is like a single word tweet for the defining issue of their time, a fascinatingly succinct way to review the history of centuries and the focus of their administration.

George Washington: Gentlemen (a lovely bit of civility to a group of rebels who'd just defeated the world's greatest empire)
Madison: Enemy (the battle of 1812 took place during his presidency, the only time the White House was occupied by enemy soldiers)
James Monroe: Parties (the emergence of political parties had become a new reality for the young country)
Andrew Jackson: Bank (Jackson dissolved the Central Bank and it would be decades before the Federal Reserve would replace it)
Tyler: Texas (added to the nation during his term)
Polk: Oregon, California (soon after his term these became new states)
Taylor: Empire (apparently this process of adding territories like Oregon and California got a little intoxicating) 
Buchanan: Slavery (an issue that would drive the country to civil war soon after he left office)
Lincoln: Emancipation (an issue resolved - sort of)
US Grant: Products, education (emergence of mass manufacturing and need for better education for new economy)
Rutherford Hayes: Coinage, dollar (debates about how to increase supply of money to match the increased supply of products)
Arthur: Merchandise (trying to sell the products to people with coins and dollars)
Harrison: Wages (emergence of jobs and the popularization of working for other people rather than working as independent farmers and artisans)
Teddy Roosevelt: Corporations (the newly dominant and powerful institution at the dawn of the 20th century), Railroads, Wage
Hoover: Unemployment (the Great Recession hits)
FDR: Democratic, Unity, Allies (We are all in this together, from WWII to economic recovery)
Truman: Soviet (now that the Nazis are gone,this is our new threat)
Eisenhower: Nuclear (and in case you were unclear about it, this is specifically how they threaten us in this new Cold War)
LBJ: Vietnam (where the US lost its first war and where Johnson lost his presidency)
Nixon: Truly (truly ironic given his own tapes revealed the depth of his deceit), Environment (this is the man who signed the EPA into law)
Ford: Barrels, crude, gas (from the year before he took to the year he left office, oil prices more than doubled - which raised inflation and unemployment)
Reagan: Deficits (which the man created when he simultaneously cut taxes and raised defense spending), Let's, Bless (optimistically rallying the country)
Clinton: 21st, Got, Lot (looking forward to a time of prosperity)
W. Bush: Terror, Iraq, Iraqi, Terrorist (looking back in fear)

No comments: