And of course there were some bad inaugural addresses. Thomas Jefferson, who had delivered an inspiring inaugural address when he first took office, appeared for his second inauguration four years later and unleashed a torrent of bitterness.
The absolute worst inaugural address was given by William Henry Harrison. After enduring a long trip to Washington, he stood outside in horrible weather and mystified the crowd by delivering a two-hour speech dealing mainly with ancient Roman history.
Harrison caught a cold on inauguration day, and died in the White House a month later. His speech was not merely bad, it was fatal.
- Five Best Inaugural Addresses of the 1800s
- Five Worst Inaugural Addresses of the 1800s
- Vintage Images: 19th Century Inaugurations
Illustration: William Henry Harrison, who delivered the worst inaugural address/Library of Congress
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