Presidents George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama: their speeches — and vocabulary choices — set the tone of their eras. Some of their words are woven into our national memory; others are lost to time.

Here at, we're in the business of preserving them through a series of lists drawn from some of the most well-known presidential speeches. Celebrate Presidents' Day today by browsing the collection, or, for Presidents' Day purists, learn lists consisting exclusively of Washington's or Lincoln's words. 

George Washington's Farewell Address (1796): Learn the difference bewteen artifice and edifice, as well as words that defined his time: arduous, exertion, prudence, and persevere.

Lincoln Inaugural Address (March 1861): It's notable that the first word appearing on this list is compliance, which the 20/20 backwards vision of history confirms was of the utmost importance to his first term. Other Lincoln lists include: The Emancipation Proclamation and The Gettysburg Address.

Social studies teachers: Interested in more vocabulary pulled from primary source materials? We feature News and Historical Documents vocabulary lists as well.