At an elaborate inaugural ceremony in Washington, Bush devoted almost all of his address to foreign policy, emphasizing his intention to spread democracy across the world.
Bush was sworn in as America's 43rd president at the strike of noon, repeating the oath of office as administered by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, William Rehnquist.
Standing on an outdoor platform, on the steps of the domed Capitol which houses the U.S. Congress, Bush then delivered a short but impassioned speech.
In a sweeping address, Bush said the United States's stability and prosperity directly depended on the triumph of democracy abroad.
"Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know. America sees you for who you are -- the future leaders of your free country."
"The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," Bush said.
Bush said the United States would take an active role in spreading democracy abroad, although he stressed this would not be primarily by military means.
"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary," Bush said.Echoes Of Reagan
Bush's speech, which offered no concrete policy initiatives, was a break from tradition as it was almost entirely devoted to foreign affairs.
In a personal message, which recalled addresses by former President Ronald Reagan and his predecessors during the Cold War, Bush said America stood side-by-side with oppressed dissidents and democracy advocates in repressed societies around the world.
"Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know. America sees you for who you are -- the future leaders of your free country," Bush said.
Bush said he was convinced that all people in all nations had a natural urge to strive for freedom. But he also reassured his foreign audience that America would not impose its system on those who follow different traditions.
"When the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way," Bush said.
Bush acknowledged the hardship endured by Americans during his first administration, following the 9/11 attacks and the military commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he urged Americans to continue to sacrifice and work for a better world.Related:
Balls, Banquets And Protests Mark Start Of Bush's Second Term