NULab Core Faculty Member Nick Beauchamp has created plotmaps of the inaugural addresses of the past four U.S. presidents, including the recent address by President Trump. This last address, Beauchamp notes, proved particularly challenging:
Trump’s speech is difficult to plot, because generally I omit generic words, which for presidential speeches usually includes “America.” But for Trump, this term was central, and if plotted would dominate everything else. So we see here the words that circle around, underlie, and perhaps define what he means by “America” and greatness. It begins with returning power to the citizens—picking up on that term from Bush’s speech and Obama’s farewell address—then turns to dreams of greatness and bringing jobs home, and then to his themes of protection and God. So what does “make America great again” seem to mean? Power, jobs, dreams, protection, and God. What’s less evident here is the oppositional nature of the speech; while Reagan or Clinton began with what they were opposed to or with what was changing, Trump touched on a myriad disjoint enemies (Washington, foreign powers, “radical Islamic terrorism”), that were mentioned only one time each, and thus are not picked up in simple word-counting methods like those here. Whose jobs, dreams, power, and citizenship are being protected, and against what, remains ambiguous here.
Read the the entire article and see the rest of the visualizations at news@Northeastern.