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Capital Quiz: Inauguration edition

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As Governor-elect Charlie Baker prepares for his inaugural address, see how much you know about the inaugurations of presidents past:

1. Presidential inaugural addresses have ranged from terse to windy. But one was remarkably short: just four sentences in all. Who gave the speech?

2. One president’s inaugural address set a new standard for humility. His opening line: “It is a relief to feel that no heart but my own can know the personal regret and bitter sorrow over which I have been borne to a position so suitable for others rather than desirable for myself.” Who said it?

3. The longest inauguration speech — by far — was given by a president who died after just 32 days in office. Who was it?


4. Whose famous words — spoken at the end of his second inaugural address — were these: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

5. Which president made a direct appeal to the Muslim world in his inaugural address?

6. Among the most famous inaugural lines of all was this one: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Who said it?

7. Which president sought in his inaugural address to quell a panicky nation with these words: “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”?


8. Which president thanked his predecessor for “all he has done to heal our land” — and what was he referring to?

9. Herbert Hoover’s inaugural address dwelled at length on some citizens’ and states’ refusal to abide by one particular constitutional amendment. What was he talking about?

10. Whose inaugural address included this populist plea: “In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children just must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die untended. In a great land of learning and scholars, young people must be taught to read and write”?


1. George Washington, in his second inauguration.

2. Franklin Pierce.

3. William Henry Harrison.

4. Abraham Lincoln.

5. Barack Obama. He said: “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”


6. John F. Kennedy.

7. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

8. Jimmy Carter, referring to Gerald Ford’s service after the resignation of Richard Nixon amid the Watergate scandal.

9. The 18th Amendment, which effectively prohibited alcoholic beverages in the United States.

10. Lyndon Johnson.