For President Barack Obama, Tuesday was a day to showcase his rhetoric on his grandest stage to date. With an assist from his young speechwriter Jon Favreau, Obama penned an inaugural address laden with history and one that marked a clear break from the rhetoric of the past eight years.

According to Obama aides, the president actually wrote the majority of the speech himself while holed up in his Washington D.C. hotel room. And both Obama and Favreau studied memorable inaugurals of the past. It showed, according to Daniel McGroarty, a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. He saw direct parallels to FDR’s 1933 inaugural and JFK’s 1961 speech.

“I was really struck by the echoes of the past,” says McGroarty. “This speech followed, almost in template form, FDR’s address in 1933.”

In that speech, FDR painted one of the bleakest public assessments of the Depression he had to date, and then pivoted to a call to action and a more hopeful tone. “This nation asks for action and action now,” Roosevelt said.

McGroarty notes that at almost the same point in Obama’s speech Tuesday came this: “The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.”

And in a bit of borrowing from President Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural, Obama echoed the former president’s embrace of the nation’s challenges. “I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it,” Kennedy said. “I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”

Toward the end of his speech Tuesday Obama said this: “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.”

And if Obama's address was a speech that was a bit less lofty in rhetoric than we have heard from him in the past, that might have been by design. “Perhaps it was more presidential as a result,” says McGroarty. “FDR knew that pretty language wasn’t going to be effective. It was the language of action that people needed.”

As for Obama’s young speechwriter, who at 27 will become the youngest chief speechwriter in history, Dan McGroarty warns that he’s about to enter a drastically different existence.

“He’s going to be doing multiple speeches a day on policy issues,” he says. They are speeches that could cover everything from environmental issues to education policy and foreign policy threats, “and that’s just Monday,” McGroarty says. “Then there’s Tuesday…”

Shane D’Aprile is Senior Editor at Politics magazine.