How to cite a presidential speech in a footnote

Written by mark keller
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How to cite a presidential speech in a footnote
(Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Citing a presidential speech in a footnote using the Chicago Manual of Style is a simple process, once you know the formula. The primary factor to keep in mind is the location from which you obtained the speech. Speech transcripts taken from a website are cited differently than those taken from a book. Otherwise, most presidential speeches can be cited roughly the same way, simply plugging the relevant data into the appropriate slots.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Enter the footnote number first, followed by the president's name. If the speech is found online, enter its name in quotation marks.

  2. 2

    Enter the title of the source in italicised text. If the speech was taken from a book, rather than a website, enter the city of publication followed by a colon, the publisher's name followed by a comma, and the date of publication, all in parentheses.

  3. 3

    Enter the volume number, if there is one, for online citations. Follow this with the date of address in parenthesis. Next enter the page or pages cited, if the database includes them, preceded by a colon and followed by a comma. Paste in the document URL and conclude with the date of access in parenthesis.

  4. 4

    Enter the volume number if you're citing from an offline document, as well, followed by a colon and the pages cited. No date is necessary.

  5. 5

    Compare your citation to the following example, to see if it's correct:

    1. Barack H. Obama, "Message on the Observance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Day of Remembrance," Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents 00061 (January 29, 2010):1, (January 3, 2011).

Tips and warnings

  • Official transcripts of all presidential speeches since January 2001 are located on the GPO Access website. Always cite a recent address as a presidential publication from this site, rather than as a live speech from your own notes, since the former will invariably be a more accurate transcription.

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