Source Newsroom: University of Illinois at Chicago
Newswise — Robert Remini, an award-winning historian from the University of Illinois at Chicago, teamed with Terry Golway to produce introductions and commentary for "Fellow Citizens: The Penguin Book of U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses" (August 2008). Their work provides historical context for all 55 presidential inaugural addresses, which are included in the book.
According to Remini, the best inaugural speeches have common themes.
"They are not talking down to the people. They are not frightening the people. They are upbeat about this country and its many successes," he says.
"Some want to tell you what they are going to do, like Lyndon Johnson. Some tell you what their philosophy of government is, which is a good way to start. Many of them try to envision the future — where am I going to take this country, where do I think it has to go."
"In the book I warn future presidents, the one thing you want to be sure of is that this is what you want to say, not what your speechwriter wants," he explains.
Remini currently serves as official historian for the U.S. House of Representatives and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has been teaching and writing about American history for more than 50 years.
Remini's earlier publications include a three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson, biographies of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams, and a dozen other books on Jacksonian America. In 2006, he published "The House: The History of the U.S. House of Representatives," the first comprehensive narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives.