Inaugural Address of Rutherford B. Hayes. This is the speech President Hayes gave when he was sworn in as President. The election of 1876 had been hotly contested and Hayes won the presidency in a disputed manner. (I wrote about this at http://www.michaellorenzen.com/1876.html ,"The presidential election of 1876 was one of the most bizarre, and controversial, elections in American history. By all appearances, Samuel Tilden won the election. However, some of the returns from the southern states were disputed. The most hotly debated state was Florida. A commission was appointed which included five Supreme Court Justices and ultimately Ohioan Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the next President of the United States of America. ")
From the site:
We have assembled to repeat the public ceremonial, begun by Washington, observed by all my predecessors, and now a time- honored custom, which marks the commencement of a new term of the Presidential office. Called to the duties of this great trust, I proceed, in compliance with usage, to announce some of the leading principles, on the subjects that now chiefly engage the public attention, by which it is my desire to be guided in the discharge of those duties. I shall not undertake to lay down irrevocably principles or measures of administration, but rather to speak of the motives which should animate us, and to suggest certain important ends to be attained in accordance with our institutions and essential to the welfare of our country.
At the outset of the discussions which preceded the recent Presidential election it seemed to me fitting that I should fully make known my sentiments in regard to several of the important questions which then appeared to demand the consideration of the country. Following the example, and in part adopting the language, of one of my predecessors, I wish now, when every motive for misrepresentation has passed away, to repeat what was said before the election, trusting that my countrymen will candidly weigh and understand it, and that they will feel assured that the sentiments declared in accepting the nomination for the Presidency will be the standard of my conduct in the path before me, charged, as I now am, with the grave and difficult task of carrying them out in the practical administration of the Government so far as depends, under the Constitution and laws on the Chief Executive of the nation.
The permanent pacification of the country upon such principles and by such measures as will secure the complete protection of all its citizens in the free enjoyment of all their constitutional rights is now the one subject in our public affairs which all thoughtful and patriotic citizens regard as of supreme importance.