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  MR. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief

  Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow



  Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the

  enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy.

  We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or

  the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional –

  what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a

  declaration made more than two centuries ago:



  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

  that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that

  among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”


  Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those

  words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these

  truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while

  freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The

  patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the

  privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a

  government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep

  safe our founding creed.


  For more than two hundred years, we have.


  Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no

  union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave

  and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.


  Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and

  highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our



  Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are

  rules to ensure competition and fair play.


  Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and

  protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.


  Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central

  authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be

  cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise;

  our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in

  our character.


  But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that

  fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges;

  that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.

  For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting

  alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism

  with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science

  teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and

  networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our

  shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation,

  and one people.



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