Barack Obama's second inauguration speech will lay out his vision for America's future a day after the President began his second term.

Monday's inauguration in front of a crowd expected to number between 800,000 and 900,000 people will set the stage for debates over taxes, guns, immigration and other issues.

While this year's speech includes no new policy, it covers the traditional themes of founding American values and their importance to the country's future.

Four years ago, about 1.8 million onlookers crammed the National Mall for Obama's first inauguration, which was seen as a turning point in America's history.

In his first inaugural address, Obama pledged to moderate the partisan anger engulfing the country - but in 2013 the country is more divided than ever, with Democrats and Republicans at odds over gun control and the country's finances.

Obama has vowed to press for an overhaul of the nation's immigration policies - taking into account the overwhelming Hispanic support he enjoys - and new ways to improve the economy. Gun control will also be on the agenda, after last month's Connecticut school shooting, and Obama may speak about the need to bring US troops home from Afghanistan.

The first African-American president will become only the 17th US leader to deliver a second inaugural address before leading the parade up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

"What the inauguration reminds us of is the role we have as fellow citizens in promoting a common good, even as we carry out our individual responsibilities that, the sense that there's something larger than ourselves, gives shape and meaning to our lives," Obama said during brief remarks to donors at a reception on Sunday night.

Obama is expected to respect the recent tradition of eschewing his cavalcade to walk part of the way back to the White House, surrounded by cheers.

During Sunday's ceremony, Obama took the oath of office before noon, as required by law. With his left hand on the bible held by first lady Michelle Obama, her husband raised his right hand and repeated the time-honoured words read out by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Obama made no special statements on Sunday's ceremony, simply saying "I did it" to his youngest daughter.

Americans increasingly see Obama as a strongman. A survey by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press showed him with a 52 percent job approval rating. His personal popularity, 59 percent, has rebounded from a low of 50 percent in the 2012 campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.

Written by Gianluca Mezzofiore