Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Artemio Ramirez, Ph.D.


donald trump, joe biden, political discourse, political speech


This study uses the inaugural addresses given by both Donald Trump and Joseph Biden as the source texts by which to examine the sentiment portrayed by particular framed messages. Framing theory stands as the central framework in which this study was conducted. The objective was to identify how political speeches like that of the presidential inaugural address frame messages to citizens and inform the audience on what their presidency may look like. This study utilizes a quantitative analysis using LIWC software followed by a qualitative discourse analysis. A thorough examination of the history of inaugural addresses, preceding presidencies, and each president-elect's campaign history were conducted in order to better understand the context surrounding the 2017 and 2021 inaugural addresses. This study sought to see which inaugural address utilizes more unifying language as well as positive emotional sentiment throughout their respective speeches. The results showed that the 2021 inaugural address utilized more unifying language rhetoric than that of the 2017 inaugural address, whereas the 2017 address utilized greater amounts of positively associated word choice to produce greater positive emotional sentiment.