Basic text analysis of presidential inaugural addresses

My summer goal was to blog more. So here I go. Two posts in two days. No way can I keep that pace up.

So I recently had the chance to teach a short course on web scraping and text analysis.  One of my examples scraped data from presidential inaugural speeches.  With this corpus (a new word that I learned), we can look at things like the most often used words

 

findFreqTerms(presTDM,300) 
[1] "can" "government" "great" "may" "must" "people" 
[7] "shall" "states" "upon" "will"

 

 

I then used to demonstrate some clustering methods.  For instance, using hierarchical clustering will produce a dendrogram like the following:

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 6.57.10 PM

The data to make this plot consists of a large sparse matrix with each row representing a speech and each column corresponding to a word with a count of the number of times the j-th word was used in the i-th speech.  In this way you can measure the distance between each speech and do clustering.

As it turned out I had some political science students in the class and they pointed out to me that it looks like there are two big groups consisting of recent presidents and less recent presidents.  So the question came up as to what was the difference?

So on the fly I write some code to test for differences in word use between the older and newer presidents.  What we ended up doing was a two sample t-test for each word split by old or new president. These groups were created by putting all presidents prior to and including Taft into group 1 and all presidents after Taft into group 2.

We then recorded the p-value for each of these tests. If we used a level alpha=0.05 for family wise error rate, a Bonferroni corrected threshold would be 5.604753e-06. Three words reached this conservative cut-off: duties, world, and public. The top 100 words (I removed january and march since those are dates of the speeches and don’t really count) based on p-values appear below.

 

                        word         pval
duties                 duties 4.629343e-07
world                   world 1.095059e-06
public                 public 4.391972e-06
subject               subject 9.420443e-06
today                   today 1.256848e-05
america               america 1.568912e-05
know                     know 1.787979e-05
live                     live 2.668409e-05
life                     life 2.895837e-05
regard                 regard 3.306319e-05
lives                   lives 4.643304e-05
interests           interests 4.711251e-05
foreign               foreign 4.855870e-05
objects               objects 4.948200e-05
functions           functions 5.686164e-05
help                     help 6.199250e-05
work                     work 6.522966e-05
present               present 6.926184e-05
attention           attention 7.776694e-05
peculiar             peculiar 9.771913e-05
civil                   civil 1.016519e-04
states                 states 1.018945e-04
views                   views 1.055752e-04
condition           condition 1.336558e-04
unity                   unity 1.368429e-04
general               general 1.475924e-04
virtue                 virtue 1.920787e-04
come                     come 1.976854e-04
enjoyed               enjoyed 2.605138e-04
happily               happily 2.605138e-04
settled               settled 2.628839e-04
discharge           discharge 2.770679e-04
opportunity       opportunity 2.981866e-04
god                       god 3.266714e-04
old                       old 3.336640e-04
execute               execute 3.378849e-04
new                       new 3.598835e-04
vision                 vision 3.746672e-04
opinion               opinion 3.992428e-04
wise                     wise 4.278589e-04
centuries           centuries 5.185043e-04
enable                 enable 5.608008e-04
americans           americans 6.192669e-04
official             official 6.339651e-04
original             original 6.970246e-04
station               station 7.021808e-04
strict                 strict 7.021808e-04
constitution     constitution 7.404890e-04
therefore           therefore 7.463164e-04
state                   state 7.476751e-04
way                       way 8.538455e-04
gods                     gods 8.743461e-04
nation                 nation 8.817792e-04
object                 object 8.921927e-04
women                   women 8.977030e-04
none                     none 9.039120e-04
portion               portion 9.805345e-04
patriotic           patriotic 9.942662e-04
freedom               freedom 1.020410e-03
liberal               liberal 1.155951e-03
importance         importance 1.160502e-03
together             together 1.174523e-03
judgment             judgment 1.285434e-03
vice                     vice 1.285803e-03
faithful             faithful 1.343211e-03
existence           existence 1.419454e-03
gratitude           gratitude 1.457342e-03
cultivate           cultivate 1.464136e-03
attained             attained 1.464136e-03
entertained       entertained 1.464136e-03
scarcely             scarcely 1.580568e-03
economic             economic 1.597010e-03
several               several 1.617976e-03
may                       may 1.725435e-03
build                   build 1.781003e-03
poverty               poverty 1.781003e-03
intercourse       intercourse 1.782419e-03
circumstances   circumstances 1.812426e-03
dignity               dignity 1.820683e-03
born                     born 2.016370e-03
patriotism         patriotism 2.039916e-03
need                     need 2.077322e-03
resolve               resolve 2.203595e-03
administration administration 2.250915e-03
blessings           blessings 2.253577e-03
formed                 formed 2.277049e-03
officers             officers 2.315975e-03
administered     administered 2.365768e-03
assembled           assembled 2.365768e-03
heretofore         heretofore 2.365768e-03
historic             historic 2.511711e-03
exists                 exists 2.662722e-03
felt                     felt 2.763852e-03
domestic             domestic 2.773740e-03
debt                     debt 2.835649e-03
disposition       disposition 2.850068e-03
policy                 policy 2.851784e-03

Of course this test was only looking at differences and it doesn’t answer which direction the difference is in. Let’s look at a few of the top words (Note: group2 is more recent president):

 t.test((m[,colnames(m)=="duties"])~group)

	Welch Two Sample t-test

data:  (m[, colnames(m) == "duties"]) by group
t = 6.1796, df = 34.719, p-value = 4.629e-07
alternative hypothesis: true difference in means is not equal to 0
95 percent confidence interval:
 1.651399 3.267956
sample estimates:
mean in group 1 mean in group 2 
       2.709677        0.250000 

t.test((m[,colnames(m)=="world"])~group)

	Welch Two Sample t-test

data:  (m[, colnames(m) == "world"]) by group
t = -6.4016, df = 24.814, p-value = 1.095e-06
alternative hypothesis: true difference in means is not equal to 0
95 percent confidence interval:
 -10.86082  -5.57198
sample estimates:
mean in group 1 mean in group 2 
       1.741935        9.958333 
t.test((m[,colnames(m)=="public"])~group)

	Welch Two Sample t-test

data:  (m[, colnames(m) == "public"]) by group
t = 5.1556, df = 49.692, p-value = 4.392e-06
alternative hypothesis: true difference in means is not equal to 0
95 percent confidence interval:
 2.921318 6.651263
sample estimates:
mean in group 1 mean in group 2 
        6.16129         1.37500

The word “duties” was used on average about 2.7 times in older inaugural addresses and only .25 times in the newer speeches.

The word “world” was used on average about 1.74 times per inaugural address among the old speeches, whereas in the newer speeches it was used on average about 9.96 times per address. Below is a break down of who was using the word “world”.

m[,colnames(m)=="world"]
washi washi adams jeffe jeffe madis madis monro monro adams jacks jacks vanbu 
    1     0     3     2     2     2     1     0     2     1     0     2     2 
harri polk/ taylo pierc bucha linco linco grant grant hayes garfi cleve harri 
    2     5     0     3     3     1     1     1     2     2     2     1     0 
cleve mckin mckin roose taft/ wilso wilso hardi cooli hoove roose roose roose 
    0     6     2     3     2     2     6    23    13    14     6     1     3 
roose truma eisen eisen kenne johns nixon nixon carte reaga reaga bush/ clint 
    2    22    14    14     8     7    12    16     5     8    14    10    18 
clint bush_ bush_ 
   10     3     8 

Finally, the word “public” was used about 6.16 times in the old addresses and only 1.375 times in the new address.

Further down the list, the word “god” shows up (Note: all words have been forced to lowercase).

t.test((m[,colnames(m)=="god"])~group)

	Welch Two Sample t-test

data:  (m[, colnames(m) == "god"]) by group
t = -3.9492, df = 38.157, p-value = 0.0003267
alternative hypothesis: true difference in means is not equal to 0
95 percent confidence interval:
 -2.4558401 -0.7914717
sample estimates:
mean in group 1 mean in group 2 
      0.7096774       2.3333333 

And we we look at which group is using the word more often, we see that in the older addresses the word “god” was used on average about .71 times per address, whereas in the newer speeches it is used 2.33 times per address. If we break this down by speech it’s even more interesting.

> m[,colnames(m)=="god"]
washi washi adams jeffe jeffe madis madis monro monro adams jacks jacks vanbu 
    0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     1     0     0     0     0 
harri polk/ taylo pierc bucha linco linco grant grant hayes garfi cleve harri 
    0     0     0     1     1     0     5     1     0     0     3     1     2 
cleve mckin mckin roose taft/ wilso wilso hardi cooli hoove roose roose roose 
    2     2     2     0     1     1     1     4     1     2     2     0     1 
roose truma eisen eisen kenne johns nixon nixon carte reaga reaga bush/ clint 
    2     2     4     1     2     3     5     2     1     4     8     2     1 
clint bush_ bush_ 
    1     3     3 

The word “god” wasn’t mentioned in any of the first 8 presidential inaugural addresses and only 3 times in the first 18. In fact it wasn’t until Lincoln where the word god was used more than once. Every president since Garfield has mentioned the word “god” in their inaugural address at least once with the exception of Teddy Roosevelt and FDR (second address). And Reagan used the word “god” 8 times in his second inaugural address.

I also though the words “drugs” and “work” were interesting so I added those here:

m[,colnames(m)=="drugs"]
washi washi adams jeffe jeffe madis madis monro monro adams jacks jacks vanbu 
    0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0 
harri polk/ taylo pierc bucha linco linco grant grant hayes garfi cleve harri 
    0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0 
cleve mckin mckin roose taft/ wilso wilso hardi cooli hoove roose roose roose 
    0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0 
roose truma eisen eisen kenne johns nixon nixon carte reaga reaga bush/ clint 
    0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     1     0 
clint bush_ bush_ 
    2     0     0 
m[,colnames(m)=="work"]
washi washi adams jeffe jeffe madis madis monro monro adams jacks jacks vanbu 
    0     0     0     1     0     0     1     3     0     1     0     0     1 
harri polk/ taylo pierc bucha linco linco grant grant hayes garfi cleve harri 
    1     0     0     0     1     0     1     0     0     1     1     1     1 
cleve mckin mckin roose taft/ wilso wilso hardi cooli hoove roose roose roose 
    2     2     1     1     7     2     0     2     2     1     3     3     0 
roose truma eisen eisen kenne johns nixon nixon carte reaga reaga bush/ clint 
    2     4     6     2     1     3     0     4     2     7     5     7     6 
clint bush_ bush_ 
    8     4     6 

And finally, here’s a word cloud of all the words used in the inaugural addresses because everyone loves word clouds.
Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 6.56.21 PM

Cheers.

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Posted on June 4, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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