“Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action,” he said.
Touching on volatile issues in the speech, Obama ticked off a series of liberal policies he plans to push in his second term.
Most surprising was a relatively long reference to the need to address climate change, which he was unable to do in his first four years.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” the president said.
On gay rights, Obama insisted: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
In a nod to the fast-growing Hispanic population that helped catapult him to re-election in November, he said there was a need to “find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.”
US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who declared in 2010 that his top goal was to deny Obama re-election, congratulated the president and expressed a willingness to work together, saying a second term “represents a fresh start.”