Harry Truman's Inauguration Address

Harry Truman delivered this speech on January 20, 1949. Here are twelve vocabulary words from the speech, which can be read in its entirety here.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. imponderable
    difficult or impossible to evaluate with precision
    But our imponderable resources in technical knowledge are constantly growing and are inexhaustible.
  2. envisage
    form a mental image of something that is not present
    What we envisage is a program of development based on the concepts of democratic fair-dealing.
  3. unfaltering
    marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable
    First, we will continue to give unfaltering support to the United Nations and related agencies, and we will continue to search for ways to strengthen their authority and increase their effectiveness.
  4. inalienable
    incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another
    Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself with reason and justice.
  5. vitalize
    make more lively or vigorous
    Democracy alone can supply the vitalizing force to stir the peoples of the world into triumphant action, not only against their human oppressors, but also against their ancient enemies—hunger, misery, and despair.
  6. constructive
    tending to improve or promote development
    Since the end of hostilities, the United States has invested its substance and its energy in a great constructive effort to restore peace, stability, and freedom to the world.
  7. chattel
    personal as opposed to real property
    Communism subjects the individual to arrest without lawful cause, punishment without trial, and forced labor as the chattel of the state.
  8. unprecedented
    novel; having no earlier occurrence
    The first half of this century has been marked by unprecedented and brutal attacks on the rights of man, and by the two most frightful wars in history.
  9. stagnant
    not growing or changing; without force or vitality
    Their economic life is primitive and stagnant.
  10. invigorate
    give life or energy to
    The purpose of that unprecedented effort is to invigorate and strengthen democracy in Europe, so that the free people of that continent can resume their rightful place in the forefront of civilization and can contribute once more to the security and welfare of the world.
  11. exploitation
    an act that victimizes someone
    The old imperialism— exploitation for foreign profit—has no place in our plans.
  12. regime
    the governing authority of a political unit
    In the pursuit of these aims, the United States and other like-minded nations find themselves directly opposed by a regime with contrary aims and a totally different concept of life.

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