Word Clouds of the State of the Union Addresses from President George W. Bush ~ News, Politics and Anything Else I Want to Say

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Word Clouds of the State of the Union Addresses from President George W. Bush

I've noticed a lot of word clouds from the presidential debates lately (first debate, VP debate, second debate) and it got me to wondering what other speeches look like. Word clouds show the frequency of words used based on size and can give you some idea what the important themes of the text is. The more times a word is used the larger (and often darker color) it is in the cloud. This should be very familiar to anyone who uses sites like del.icio.us with their tag clouds. In addition to the information shown graphically, word clouds are just cool as art.

I really wondered, what would the State of the Union address look like over time? As Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution says: He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

Comparing each year would show a glimpse of what important happened in the previous year and what the future holds as seen through the eyes of the President. To do this I found the text of all past State of the Union speeches at ThisNation.com. The images were then generated using Wordle and are all under a creative commons license.

For each images, I used the same settings so they could be compared more easily. I also went with an easy to read font, made all text horizontal and only used black text to make the comparisons easier. I could have made them a lot better looking with colors and different alignment of the text (look at some of the debate examples) but that would have made comparing each one more difficult.

I hope to do this for other presidents too. It would be interesting to see the evolution of the State of the Union from its beginnings with George Washington.

The things I notice most about these images are
  1. President Bush uses the word "must" a lot in these speeches.
  2. As everyone knows, the world changed after September 11th, 2001. This first address was in February 2001 so the 2002 address and later are post 9/11. 









What are your thoughts? I want to make a word cloud t-shirt now!

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