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35GreatestSpeechesinHistory|TheArtofManliness

September18,2015
AMan'sLife,ManlyKnowledge

The35GreatestSpeechesinHistory

Brett&KateMcKay
195Comments

Ifamanwishestobecomeagreatorator,hemustfirstbecomeastudentofthegreatoratorswhohave
comebeforehim.Hemustimmersehimselfintheirtexts,listeningfortheturnsofphrasesandtextual
symmetries,thepausesandcrescendos,themetaphorsandmelodiesthathaveenabledthegreatest
speechestostandthetestoftime.
Therewasnotcurrentlyaresourceonthewebtomylikingthatofferedthemanwhowishedtostudythe
greatestorationsofalltimefromancienttomodernnotonlyalistofthespeechesbutalinktothetext
andaparagraphoutliningthecontextinwhichthespeechwasgiven.Sowedecidedtocreateone
ourselves.TheArtofManlinessthusproudlypresentsthe35GreatestSpeechesinWorldHistory,the
finestlibraryofspeechesavailableontheweb.
Thesespeechesliftedheartsindarktimes,gavehopeindespair,refinedthecharactersofmen,inspired
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bravefeats,gavecouragetotheweary,honoredthedead,andchangedthecourseofhistory.Itismy
desirethatthislibrarywillbecomealastingresourcenotonlytothosewhowishtobecomegreatorators,
buttoallmenwhowiselyseekoutthegreatmentorsofhistoryasguidesonthepathtovirtuous
manhood.
Iknowthatreadersofblogsareoftenmorelikelytoskimthantoreadindepth.ButIchallengeyou,
gentlemen,toattemptaprogramofstudyinwhichyoureadtheentiretyofoneofthesegreatspeeches
eachandeveryday.Ifoundtheprocessofcompilingandreadingthesespeechestobeenormously
inspiringandedifying,andIfeelconfidentthatyouwillfindthemequallyso.
Howdidwecompilethislist?
Greatoratoryhasthreecomponents:style,substance,andimpact.
Style:Agreatspeechmustbemasterfullyconstructed.Thebestoratorsaremastersofboththewritten
andspokenword,andusewordstocreatetextsthatarebeautifultobothhearandread.
Substance:Aspeechmaybefloweryandcharismaticallypresented,andyetlackanytruesubstanceat
all.Greatoratorymustcenteronaworthythemeitmustappealtoandinspiretheaudiencesfinest
valuesandideals.
Impact:Greatoratoryalwaysseekstopersuadetheaudienceofsomefactoridea.Theverybest
speecheschangeheartsandmindsandseemasrevelatoryseveraldecadesorcenturiesremovedaswhen
theywerefirstgiven.
Andnowforthespeeches.
BookmarkthisonDelicious

TheodoreRoosevelt,DutiesofAmericanCitizenship
January26,1883Buffalo,NewYork

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GivenwhileservingasaNewYorkassemblyman,TRsaddressontheDutiesofAmerican
Citizenshipdelvedintoboththetheoreticalreasonswhyeverymanshouldbeinvolvedinpoliticsand
thepracticalmeansofservinginthatcapacity.Rooseveltchidedthosewhoexcusedthemselvesfrom
politicsbecausetheyweretoobusyitwaseverymansdutytodevotesometimetomaintaininggood
government.
WorthyExcerpt:
Ofcourse,inonesense,thefirstessentialforamansbeingagoodcitizenishispossession
ofthehomevirtuesofwhichwethinkwhenwecallamanbytheemphaticadjectiveof
manly.Nomancanbeagoodcitizenwhoisnotagoodhusbandandagoodfather,whois
nothonestinhisdealingswithothermenandwomen,faithfultohisfriendsandfearlessin
thepresenceofhisfoes,whohasnotgotasoundheart,asoundmind,andasoundbody
exactlyasnoamountofattentiontocivildutieswillsaveanationifthedomesticlifeis
undermined,orthereislackoftherudemilitaryvirtueswhichalonecanassureacountrys
positionintheworld.Inafreerepublictheidealcitizenmustbeonewillingandabletotake
armsforthedefenseoftheflag,exactlyastheidealcitizenmustbethefatherofmany
healthychildren.Aracemustbestrongandvigorousitmustbearaceofgoodfightersand
goodbreeders,elseitswisdomwillcometonaughtanditsvirtuebeineffectiveandno
sweetnessanddelicacy,noloveforandappreciationofbeautyinartorliterature,no
capacityforbuildingupmaterialprosperitycanpossiblyatoneforthelackofthegreatvirile
virtues.
Butthisisasidefrommysubject,forwhatIwishtotalkofistheattitudeoftheAmerican
citizeninciviclife.Itoughttobeaxiomaticinthiscountrythateverymanmustdevotea
reasonableshareofhistimetodoinghisdutyinthePoliticallifeofthecommunity.Noman
hasarighttoshirkhispoliticaldutiesunderwhateverpleaofpleasureorbusinessandwhile
suchshirkingmaybepardonedinthoseofsmallcleansitisentirelyunpardonableinthose
amongwhomitismostcommoninthepeoplewhosecircumstancesgivethemfreedomin
thestruggleforlife.Insofarasthecommunitygrowstothinkrightly,itwilllikewisegrow
toregardtheyoungmanofmeanswhoshirkshisdutytotheStateintimeofpeaceasbeing
onlyonedegreeworsethanthemanwhothusshirksitintimeofwar.Agreatmanyofour
meninbusiness,orofouryoungmenwhoarebentonenjoyinglife(astheyhaveaperfect
righttodoifonlytheydonotsacrificeotherthingstoenjoyment),ratherplumethemselves
uponbeinggoodcitizensiftheyevenvoteyetvotingistheveryleastoftheirduties,
Nothingworthgainingisevergainedwithouteffort.Youcannomorehavefreedomwithout
strivingandsufferingforitthanyoucanwinsuccessasabankeroralawyerwithoutlabor
andeffort,withoutselfdenialinyouthandthedisplayofareadyandalertintelligencein
middleage.Thepeoplewhosaythattheyhavenottimetoattendtopoliticsaresimply
sayingthattheyareunfittoliveinafreecommunity.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

WinstonChurchill,WeShallFightontheBeaches
June4,1940HouseofCommons,London

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WinstonChurchill,oneofthegreatestoratorsofthe20thcentury,wasinterestinglyenough,like
Demosthenesandothergreatoratorsbeforehim,bornwithaspeechimpedimentwhichheworkedon
untilitnolongerhinderedhim.OnewouldneverguessthisfromhearingChurchillsstrongand
reassuringvoice,avoicethatwouldbuoyupBritainduringsomeofherdarkesthours.
DuringtheBattleofFrance,AlliedForcesbecamecutofffromtroopssouthoftheGermanpenetration
andperilouslytrappedattheDunkirkbridgehead.OnMay26,awholesaleevacuationofthesetroops,
dubbedOperationDynamo,began.TheevacuationwasanamazingefforttheRAFkepttheLuftwaffe
atbaywhilethousandsofships,frommilitarydestroyerstosmallfishingboats,wereusedtoferry
338,000FrenchandBritishtroopstosafety,farmorethananyonehadthoughtpossible.OnJune4,
ChurchillspokebeforetheHouseofCommons,givingareportwhichcelebratedthemiraculous
deliveranceatDunkirk,whilealsoseekingtotemperatoorosyofviewofwhatwasonthewholea
colossalmilitarydisaster.
WorthyExcerpt
Ihave,myself,fullconfidencethatifalldotheirduty,ifnothingisneglected,andifthebest
arrangementsaremade,astheyarebeingmade,weshallproveourselvesonceagainableto
defendourIslandhome,torideoutthestormofwar,andtooutlivethemenaceoftyranny,if
necessaryforyears,ifnecessaryalone.Atanyrate,thatiswhatwearegoingtotrytodo.
ThatistheresolveofHisMajestysGovernmenteverymanofthem.Thatisthewillof
Parliamentandthenation.TheBritishEmpireandtheFrenchRepublic,linkedtogetherin
theircauseandintheirneed,willdefendtothedeaththeirnativesoil,aidingeachotherlike
goodcomradestotheutmostoftheirstrength.EventhoughlargetractsofEuropeandmany
oldandfamousStateshavefallenormayfallintothegripoftheGestapoandalltheodious
apparatusofNazirule,weshallnotflagorfail.Weshallgoontotheend,weshallfightin
France,weshallfightontheseasandoceans,weshallfightwithgrowingconfidenceand
growingstrengthintheair,weshalldefendourIsland,whateverthecostmaybe,weshall
fightonthebeaches,weshallfightonthelandinggrounds,weshallfightinthefieldsandin
thestreets,weshallfightinthehillsweshallneversurrender,andevenif,whichIdonot
foramomentbelieve,thisIslandoralargepartofitweresubjugatedandstarving,thenour
Empirebeyondtheseas,armedandguardedbytheBritishFleet,wouldcarryonthe
struggle,until,inGodsgoodtime,theNewWorld,withallitspowerandmight,stepsforth
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totherescueandtheliberationoftheold.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

LouGehrig,FarewelltoBaseballAddress
July4,1939YankeeStadium

ItseemedasiftheluminouscareerofLouGehrigwouldgoonforever.TheYankeesfirstbasemanand
prodigioussluggerwasnicknamedtheIronHorseforhisdurabilityandcommitmenttothegame.Sadly,
hisrecordforsuitingupfor2,130consecutivegamescametoanendwhenatage36,Gehrigwas
strickenwiththecripplingdiseasethatnowbearshisname.OnJuly4,1939,theYankeeshelda
ceremonytohonortheirteammateandfriend.TheyretiredGehrigsnumber,spokeofhisgreatness,and
presentedhimwithvariousgifts,plaques,andtrophies.WhenGehrigfinallyaddressedthecrowd,hedid
notusetheopportunitytowallowinpity.Instead,hespokeofthethingshewasgratefulforandwhata
luckyguyhewas.
TheSpeech
Fans,forthepasttwoweeksyouhavebeenreadingaboutabadbreakIgot.YettodayI
considermyselftheluckiestmanonthefaceoftheearth.Ihavebeeninballparksfor
seventeenyearsandhaveneverreceivedanythingbutkindnessandencouragementfromyou
fans.
Lookatthesegrandmen.Whichofyouwouldntconsideritthehighlightofhiscareerto
associatewiththemforevenoneday?
Sure,Imlucky.WhowouldntconsideritanhonortohaveknownJacobRuppertalsothe
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builderofbaseballsgreatestempire,EdBarrowtohavespentthenextnineyearswiththat
wonderfullittlefellowMillerHugginsthentohavespentthenextnineyearswiththat
outstandingleader,thatsmartstudentofpsychologythebestmanagerinbaseballtoday,
JoeMcCarthy!
Sure,Imlucky.WhentheNewYorkGiants,ateamyouwouldgiveyourrightarmtobeat,
andviceversa,sendsyouagift,thatssomething!Wheneverybodydowntothe
groundskeepersandthoseboysinwhitecoatsrememberyouwithtrophies,thatssomething.
Whenyouhaveawonderfulmotherinlawwhotakessideswithyouinsquabblesagainst
herowndaughter,thatssomething.Whenyouhaveafatherandmotherwhoworkalltheir
livessothatyoucanhaveaneducationandbuildyourbody,itsablessing!Whenyouhave
awifewhohasbeenatowerofstrengthandshownmorecouragethanyoudreamedexisted,
thatsthefinestIknow.
SoIcloseinsayingthatImighthavehadatoughbreakbutIhaveanawfullottolivefor!

Demosthenes,TheThirdPhilippic
342B.C.Athens,Greece

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Demosthenes,masterstatesmanandorator,lovedhiscitystateofAthens.Hecherisheditswayoflife
andabundantfreedoms.Andhebelievedinstandingstrongagainstanyonewhomightattempttoinfringe
ontheseprivileges.Thispassion,unfortunately,wasseldomsharedbyhisfellowAthenians.While
PhiliptheIIofMacedonmadebolderandbolderincursionsintotheGreekpeninsula,theAthenian
peopleseemedstuckinanapatheticstupor.Foryears,Demosthenesemployedhispowerfuloratorical
skillsinattemptstoawakenhisfellowcitizensfromsleeptotherealizationoftheimminentdanger
Philipposed.WhenPhilipadvancedonThrace,theAthenianscalledanassemblytodebatewhetheror
nottofinallyheedthegreatoratorsadvice.Demostheneswassickofhisbrethrentakinglibertyandthe
Athenianwayoflifeforgrantedandheboldlycalleduponthemtoriseupandtakeaction.Afterhis
rousingspeech,theassemblyallcriedout,Toarms!Toarms!
WorthyExcerpt:
Itisthisfate,Isolemnlyassureyou,thatIdreadforyou,whenthetimecomesthatyou
makeyourreckoning,andrealizethatthereisnolongeranythingthatcanbedone.Mayyou
neverfindyourselves,menofAthens,insuchaposition!Yetinanycase,itwerebetterto
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dietenthousanddeaths,thantodoanythingoutofservilitytowardsPhilip[ortosacrifice
anyofthosewhospeakforyourgood].AnoblerecompensedidthepeopleinOreusreceive,
forentrustingthemselvestoPhilipsfriends,andthrustingEuphraeusaside!Andanoble
recompensethedemocracyofEretria,fordrivingawayyourenvoys,andsurrenderingto
Cleitarchus!Theyareslaves,scourgedandbutchered!Anobleclemencydidheshowtothe
Olynthians,whoelectedLasthenestocommandthecavalry,andbanishedApollonides!Itis
folly,anditiscowardice,tocherishhopeslikethese,togivewaytoevilcounsels,torefuse
todoanythingthatyoushoulddo,tolistentotheadvocatesoftheenemyscause,andto
fancythatyoudwellinsogreatacitythat,whateverhappens,youwillnotsufferanyharm.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

ChiefJoseph,SurrenderSpeech
October5,1877MontanaTerritory

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In1877,themilitaryannouncedthattheChiefJosephandhistribeofNezPercehadtomoveontoa
reservationinIdahoorfaceretribution.Desiringtoavoidviolence,ChiefJosephadvocatedpeaceand
cooperation.Butfellowtribesmendissentedandkilledfourwhitemen.Knowingaswiftbacklashwas
coming,JosephandhispeoplebegantomaketheirwaytoCanada,hopingtofindamnestythere.The
tribetraveled1700miles,fightingthepursuingUSarmyalongtheway.Indireconditions,andaftera
fivedaybattle,ChiefJosephsurrenderedtoGeneralNelsonA.MilesonOct.5,1877intheBearPaw
MountainsofMontanaTerritory,amere40milesfromtheCanadianborder.TheChiefknewhewasthe
lastofadyingbreed,andthemomentofsurrenderwasheartbreaking.
TheSpeech
TellGeneralHowardIknowhisheart.Whathetoldmebefore,Ihaveitinmyheart.Iam
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tiredoffighting.OurChiefsarekilledLookingGlassisdead,TaHoolHoolShuteisdead.
Theoldmenarealldead.Itistheyoungmenwhosayyesorno.Hewholedontheyoung
menisdead.Itiscold,andwehavenoblanketsthelittlechildrenarefreezingtodeath.My
people,someofthem,haverunawaytothehills,andhavenoblankets,nofood.Noone
knowswheretheyareperhapsfreezingtodeath.Iwanttohavetimetolookformy
children,andseehowmanyofthemIcanfind.MaybeIshallfindthemamongthedead.
Hearme,myChiefs!Iamtiredmyheartissickandsad.FromwherethesunnowstandsI
willfightnomoreforever.

JohnF.Kennedy,InaugurationAddress
January20,1961Washington,D.C.

Young,handsome,withaglamorousfamilyintow,JohnF.Kennedyembodiedthefreshoptimismthat
hadmarkedthepostwardecade.OnJanuary20,1961,Kennedytooktheoathofofficeasthe35th
PresidentoftheUnitedStates.TheyoungestpresidentinUnitedStateshistory,hewasthefirstmanborn
inthe20thcenturytoholdthatoffice.Listeningtohisinauguraladdress,thenationfeltthatanewera
andanewfrontierwerebeingusheredin.
WorthyExcerpt:
Canweforgeagainsttheseenemiesagrandandglobalalliance,NorthandSouth,Eastand
West,thatcanassureamorefruitfullifeforallmankind?Willyoujoininthathistoric
effort?
Inthelonghistoryoftheworld,onlyafewgenerationshavebeengrantedtheroleof
defendingfreedominitshourofmaximumdanger.Idonotshrinkfromthisresponsibility
Iwelcomeit.Idonotbelievethatanyofuswouldexchangeplaceswithanyotherpeople
oranyothergeneration.Theenergy,thefaith,thedevotionwhichwebringtothisendeavor
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willlightourcountryandallwhoserveitandtheglowfromthatfirecantrulylightthe
world.
Andso,myfellowAmericans:asknotwhatyourcountrycandoforyouaskwhatyou
candoforyourcountry.
Myfellowcitizensoftheworld:asknotwhatAmericawilldoforyou,butwhattogetherwe
candoforthefreedomofman.

Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.

RonaldReagan,AddresstotheNationontheChallenger
January28,1986Washington,D.C.

OnJanuary28,1986,millionsofAmericans,manyofthemschoolchildrenwatchingfromtheir
classroomdesks,tunedintosee7Americans,includingChristaMcAuliffe,a37yearoldschoolteacher
andthefirstevercivilianastronaut,liftoffinthespaceshuttleChallenger.Just73secondslater,the
shuttlewasconsumedinafireball.Allsevenaboardperished.ThesewerethefirstdeathsofAmerican
astronautswhileinflight,andthenationwasshockedandheartbrokenbythetragedy.Justafewhours
afterthedisaster,PresidentRonaldReagantooktotheradioandairwaves,honoringthesepioneersand
offeringcomfortandassurancetoarattledpeople.
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WorthyExcerpt:
Wevegrownusedtowondersinthiscentury.Itshardtodazzleus.Butfor25yearsthe
UnitedStatesspaceprogramhasbeendoingjustthat.Wevegrownusedtotheideaof
space,andperhapsweforgetthatweveonlyjustbegun.Werestillpioneers.They,the
membersoftheChallengercrew,werepioneers.
AndIwanttosaysomethingtotheschoolchildrenofAmericawhowerewatchingthelive
coverageoftheshuttlestakeoff.Iknowitishardtounderstand,butsometimespainful
thingslikethishappen.Itsallpartoftheprocessofexplorationanddiscovery.Itsallpart
oftakingachanceandexpandingmanshorizons.Thefuturedoesntbelongtothe
fainthearteditbelongstothebrave.TheChallengercrewwaspullingusintothefuture,and
wellcontinuetofollowthem
ThecrewofthespaceshuttleChallengerhonouredusbythemannerinwhichtheylived
theirlives.Wewillneverforgetthem,northelasttimewesawthem,thismorning,asthey
preparedforthejourneyandwavedgoodbyeandslippedthesurlybondsofearthtotouch
thefaceofGod.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.

SpeechofAlexandertheGreat
326B.C.HydaspesRiver,India

In335B.C.,AlexandertheGreatbeganhiscampaigntorecaptureformerGreekcitiesandtoexpandhis
empire.Aftertenyearsofundefeatedbattles,AlexandercontrolledanempirethatincludedGreece,
Egypt,andwhathadbeenthemassivePersianEmpire.
ThatwasntenoughforXander.HedecidedtocontinuehisconquestintoIndia.Butaftertenyearsof
fightingandbeingawayfromhome,hismenlackedthewilltotakepartinanotherbattle,especially
againstanopponentlikeKingPorusandhisarmy.Alexanderusedthetalentfororationhehad
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developedwhilestudyingunderAristotletoinfusehismenwiththemotivationtheyneededtocontinue
on,tofightandtowin.
WorthyExcerpt:
IcouldnothaveblamedyouforbeingthefirsttoloseheartifI,yourcommander,hadnot
sharedinyourexhaustingmarchesandyourperilouscampaignsitwouldhavebeennatural
enoughifyouhaddonealltheworkmerelyforotherstoreapthereward.Butitisnotso.
YouandI,gentlemen,havesharedthelabourandsharedthedanger,andtherewardsarefor
usall.Theconqueredterritorybelongstoyoufromyourranksthegovernorsofitare
chosenalreadythegreaterpartofitstreasurepassesintoyourhands,andwhenallAsiais
overrun,thenindeedIwillgofurtherthanthemeresatisfactionofourambitions:theutmost
hopesofrichesorpowerwhicheachoneofyoucherisheswillbefarsurpassed,andwhoever
wishestoreturnhomewillbeallowedtogo,eitherwithmeorwithoutme.Iwillmakethose
whostaytheenvyofthosewhoreturn.

WilliamWilberforce,AbolitionSpeech
May12,1789HouseofCommons,London

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WhenWilliamWilberforce,amemberoftheBritishParliament,convertedtoChristianity,hebeganto
earnestlyseektoreformtheevilshefoundwithinhimselfandtheworldaroundhim.Oneoftheglaring
moralissuesofthedaywasslavery,andafterreadinguponthesubjectandmeetingwithantislavery
activists,WilberforcebecameconvincedthatGodwascallinghimtobeanabolitionist.Wilberforce
decidedtoconcentrateonendingtheslavetraderatherthanslaveryitself,reasoningthattheabolitionof
onewouldlogicallyleadtothedemiseoftheother.OnMay12,1789,Wilberforcemadehisfirstspeech
ontheabolitionoftheslavetradebeforetheHouseofCommons.Hepassionatelymadehiscaseforwhy
thetradewasreprehensibleandneededtocease.Wilberforceintroducedabilltoabolishthetrade,butit
failed,aresulthewouldbecomequitefamiliarwithintheensuingyears.YetWilberforcenevergaveup,
reintroducingthebillyearafteryear,andtheSlaveTradeActwasfinallypassedin1807.

WorthyExcerpt:
WhenIconsiderthemagnitudeofthesubjectwhichIamtobringbeforetheHousea
subject,inwhichtheinterests,notofthiscountry,norofEuropealone,butofthewhole
world,andofposterity,areinvolved:andwhenIthink,atthesametime,ontheweaknessof
theadvocatewhohasundertakenthisgreatcausewhenthesereflectionspressuponmy
mind,itisimpossibleformenottofeelbothterrifiedandconcernedatmyowninadequacy
tosuchatask.ButwhenIreflect,however,ontheencouragementwhichIhavehad,through
thewholecourseofalongandlaboriousexaminationofthisquestion,andhowmuch
candourIhaveexperienced,andhowconvictionhasincreasedwithinmyownmind,in
proportionasIhaveadvancedinmylabourswhenIreflect,especially,thathoweveraverse
anygentlemanmaynowbe,yetweshallallbeofoneopinionintheendwhenIturnmyself
tothesethoughts,ItakecourageIdeterminetoforgetallmyotherfears,andImarch
forwardwithafirmerstepinthefullassurancethatmycausewillbearmeout,andthatI
shallbeabletojustifyupontheclearestprinciples,everyresolutioninmyhand,theavowed
endofwhichis,thetotalabolitionoftheslavetrade.

Readfulltextofspeechhere.

TheodoreRoosevelt,TheManwiththeMuckrake
April14,1906Washington,D.C.

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TheodoreRooseveltwaspresidentduringtheProgressiveEra,atimeofgreatenthusiasmforreformin
government,theeconomy,andsociety.TRhimselfheldmanyprogressiveideals,buthealsocalledfor
moderation,notextremism.TheManwithaMuckrakeinPilgrimsProgressneverlooked
heavenwardbutinsteadconstantlyrakedthefilthathisfeet.TRthusdubbedthejournalistsandactivists
ofthedaywhowereintentonexposingthecorruptioninsocietyasmuckrakers.Hefeltthattheydida
tremendousamountofgood,butneededtomitigatetheirconstantpessimismandalarmisttone.He
worriedthatthesensationalismwithwhichtheseexposeswereoftenpresentedwouldmakecitizens
overlycynicalandtoopronetothrowoutthebabywiththebathwater.

WorthyExcerpt:
Toassailthegreatandadmittedevilsofourpoliticalandindustriallifewithsuchcrudeand
sweepinggeneralizationsastoincludedecentmeninthegeneralcondemnationmeansthe
searingofthepublicconscience.Thereresultsageneralattitudeeitherofcynicalbeliefin
andindifferencetopubliccorruptionorelseofadistrustfulinabilitytodiscriminatebetween
thegoodandthebad.Eitherattitudeisfraughtwithuntolddamagetothecountryasawhole.
Thefoolwhohasnotsensetodiscriminatebetweenwhatisgoodandwhatisbadiswell
nighasdangerousasthemanwhodoesdiscriminateandyetchoosesthebad.Thereis
nothingmoredistressingtoeverygoodpatriot,toeverygoodAmerican,thanthehard,
scoffingspiritwhichtreatstheallegationofdishonestyinapublicmanasacausefor
laughter.
Suchlaughterisworsethanthecracklingofthornsunderapot,foritdenotesnotmerelythe
vacantmind,buttheheartinwhichhighemotionshavebeenchokedbeforetheycouldgrow
tofruition.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

FranklinDelanoRoosevelt,FirstInauguralAddress
March4,1933Washington,D.C.
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FranklinDelanoRoosevelthandilybeatincumbentHerbertHooverinthe1932presidentialelection.The
countrywasdeepintotheGreatDepression,andthepublicfeltthatHooverdidnotfullysympathizewith
theirplightandwasnotdoingenoughtoalleviateit.NoonewasquiteclearonwhatFDRsplanwas,but
asintodayselectionseason,changewasenoughofanideatopoweracampaign.InhisFirst
InauguralAddress,RooseveltsoughttobuoyuptheinjuredpsycheoftheAmericanpeopleandpresent
hiscaseforwhyhewouldneedbroadexecutivepowerstotackletheDepression.
WorthyExcerpt:
IamcertainthatmyfellowAmericansexpectthatonmyinductionintothePresidencyIwill
addressthemwithacandorandadecisionwhichthepresentsituationofourNationimpels.
Thisispreeminentlythetimetospeakthetruth,thewholetruth,franklyandboldly.Nor
needweshrinkfromhonestlyfacingconditionsinourcountrytoday.ThisgreatNationwill
endureasithasendured,willreviveandwillprosper.So,firstofall,letmeassertmyfirm
beliefthattheonlythingwehavetofearisfearitselfnameless,unreasoning,unjustified
terrorwhichparalyzesneededeffortstoconvertretreatintoadvance.Ineverydarkhourof
ournationallifealeadershipoffranknessandvigorhasmetwiththatunderstandingand
supportofthepeoplethemselveswhichisessentialtovictory.Iamconvincedthatyouwill
againgivethatsupporttoleadershipinthesecriticaldays.
Readthefulltexthere.
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Listentothespeech.

CharlesdeGaulle,TheAppealof18June
June18,1940London

InJuneof1940,itwasclearthatFrancewaslosingtheircountrytotheGermaninvasion.Refusingto
signanarmistice,PrimeMinisterPaulReynaudwasforcedtoresign.HewassucceededbyMarshal
PhilippePetainwhomadeclearhisintentiontoseekanaccommodationwithGermany.Disgustedwith
thisdecision,GeneralCharlesdeGaulle,leaderoftheFreeFrenchForces,escapedtoEnglandonJune
15.DeGaulleaskedfor,andobtainedpermissionfromWinstonChurchilltomakeaspeechonBBC
radio.DeGaulleexhortedtheFrenchtonotgiveuphopeandtocontinuethefightagainsttheGerman
occupationandtheVichyRegime.
WorthyExcerpt:
Buthasthelastwordbeensaid?Musthopedisappear?Isdefeatfinal?No!
Believeme,Iwhoamspeakingtoyouwithfullknowledgeofthefacts,andwhotellyou
thatnothingislostforFrance.Thesamemeansthatovercameuscanbringusvictoryone
day.ForFranceisnotalone!Sheisnotalone!Sheisnotalone!ShehasavastEmpire
behindher.ShecanalignwiththeBritishEmpirethatholdstheseaandcontinuesthefight.
Shecan,likeEngland,usewithoutlimittheimmenseindustryoftheUnitedStates.
Thiswarisnotlimitedtotheunfortunateterritoryofourcountry.Thiswarisnotoverasa
resultoftheBattleofFrance.Thiswarisaworldwidewar.Allthemistakes,allthedelays,
allthesuffering,donotalterthefactthatthereare,intheworld,allthemeansnecessaryto
crushourenemiesoneday.Vanquishedtodaybymechanicalforce,inthefuturewewillbe
abletoovercomebyasuperiormechanicalforce.Thefateoftheworlddependsonit.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

Socrates,Apology
399B.C.Athens
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SocratesisperhapsthegreatestteacherinthehistoryoftheWesternworld.HewanderedaroundAthens
engagingindialogueswithhisfellowcitizensthatfocusedondiscoveringthetruthofallthings.He
taughthispupilsthattheunexaminedlifeisnotworthliving.
TheAthenianssawSocratesasathreat,especiallytotheAthenianyouth.Socratesacquiredquitea
followingamongtheyoungmenofAthens.Hetaughttheseimpressionablemindstoquestion
everything,evenAthenianauthority.Eventually,Socrateswasarrestedandputontrialforcorruptingthe
youth,notbelievingthegods,andcreatingnewdeities.
TheApologyisSocratesdefensetothesecharges.Insteadofcryingandpleadingformercy,Socrates
acceptshischargesandattemptstopersuadethejurywithreason.Hearguedthatitwashiscallingfrom
thegodstoseekknowledgeandthatitwasthroughhisquestionsheuncoveredtruth.Tonotfulfillhis
callingwouldbeblasphemy.Intheend,Socrateslostandwassentencedtodeathbyhemlock.Socrates
acceptedthisfatewillinglyandwithoutgrudgeagainsthiscondemners,thusdyingasamartyrforfree
thinking.
WorthyExcerpt:
Someonewillsay:Yes,Socrates,butcannotyouholdyourtongue,andthenyoumaygo
intoaforeigncity,andnoonewillinterferewithyou?NowIhavegreatdifficultyinmaking
youunderstandmyanswertothis.ForifItellyouthattodoasyousaywouldbea
disobediencetotheGod,andthereforethatIcannotholdmytongue,youwillnotbelieve
thatIamseriousandifIsayagainthatdailytodiscourseaboutvirtue,andofthoseother
thingsaboutwhichyouhearmeexaminingmyselfandothers,isthegreatestgoodofman,
andthattheunexaminedlifeisnotworthliving,youarestilllesslikelytobelieveme.

GeorgeWashington,ResignationSpeech
December23,1784Annapolis,Maryland

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AstheRevolutionaryWardrewtoaclose,therewasmuchspeculationthatGeorgeWashington,then
MajorGeneralandCommanderinChief,wouldfollowinthefootstepsofformerworldleadersby
makingagrabforsupremepower.Someevenwishedhewoulddoso,hopinghewouldbecometheking
ofanewnation.YetWashingtonknewthatsuchamovewouldwitherthefragilebeginningsofthenew
republic.LookingtotheRomangeneralCincinnatusanexemplar,Washingtonrejectedthetemptations
ofpowerandresignedhispositionasCommanderinChief.Choosingtherightisalmostnevereasy,and
asWashingtonreadhisspeechinfrontoftheContinentalCongress,thegreatstatesmantrembledso
muchthathehadtoholdtheparchmentwithtwohandstokeepitsteady.Thespectatorsallwept,and
therewashardlyamemberofCongresswhodidnotdroptears.Hisvoicefalteredandsunk,andthe
wholehousefelthisagitations.Whenfinished,WashingtonboltedfromthedooroftheAnnapolisState
House,mountedhishorse,andgallopedawayintothesunset.
WorthyExcerpt:
WhileIrepeatmyobligations
totheArmyingeneral,Ishoulddoinjusticetomyownfeelingsnottoacknowledgeinthis
placethepeculiarServicesanddistinguishedmeritsoftheGentlemenwhohavebeen
attachedtomypersonduringtheWar.ItwasimpossiblethechoiceofconfidentialOfficers
tocomposemyfamilyshouldhavebeenmorefortunate.PermitmeSir,torecommendin
particularthose,whohavecontinuedinServicetothepresentmoment,asworthyofthe
favorablenoticeandpatronageofCongress.
IconsideritanindispensabledutytoclosethislastsolemnactofmyOfficiallife,by
commendingtheInterestsofourdearestCountrytotheprotectionofAlmightyGod,and
thosewhohavethesuperintendenceofthem,tohisholykeeping.
Havingnowfinishedtheworkassignedme,IretirefromthegreattheaterofActionand
biddinganAffectionatefarewelltothisAugustbodyunderwhoseordersIhavesolong
acted,IhereoffermyCommission,andtakemyleaveofalltheemploymentsofpubliclife.

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Readthefulltexthere.

MahatmaGandhi,QuitIndia
August8,1942India

Whilethebattleforfreedomanddemocracyragedacrosstheworld,thepeopleofIndiawereengagedin
theirownfightforliberty.Foralmostacentury,IndiahadbeenunderthedirectruleoftheBritishcrown,
andmanyIndianshadhadenough.MahatmaGandhiandtheNationalIndianCongresspushedfora
completelynonviolentmovementaimedatforcingBritaintoQuitIndia.Gandhi,pioneerofthetactics
ofnonviolentcivildisobedience,calledfortheiruseonAugust8,1942withthepassingoftheQuit
IndiaResolutiondemandingcompleteindependencefromBritishrule.
WorthyExcerpt:
Ibelievethatinthehistoryoftheworld,therehasnotbeenamoregenuinelydemocratic
struggleforfreedomthanours.IreadCarlylesFrenchResolutionwhileIwasinprison,and
PanditJawaharlalhastoldmesomethingabouttheRussianrevolution.Butitismy
convictionthatinasmuchasthesestruggleswerefoughtwiththeweaponofviolencethey
failedtorealizethedemocraticideal.InthedemocracywhichIhaveenvisaged,ademocracy
establishedbynonviolence,therewillbeequalfreedomforall.Everybodywillbehisown
master.ItistojoinastruggleforsuchdemocracythatIinviteyoutoday.Onceyourealize
thisyouwillforgetthedifferencesbetweentheHindusandMuslims,andthinkofyourselves
asIndiansonly,engagedinthecommonstruggleforindependence.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
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WinstonChurchill,TheirFinestHour

June18,1940HouseofCommons,London

OnMay10,1940,theGermansbegantheirinvasionofFrance.OnJune14Parisfell.Inamatterofdays,
FrancewouldsurrenderandEnglandwouldstandasEuropeslonebulwarkagainstthetwinevilsof
FascismandNazism.Atthiscriticalmoment,ChurchillgavehisthirdandfinalspeechduringtheBattle
ofFrance,onceagainimpartingwordsmeanttobringhopeinthisdarkhour.
WorthyExcerpt:
WhatGeneralWeygandcalledtheBattleofFranceisover.IexpectthattheBattleofBritain
isabouttobegin.UponthisbattledependsthesurvivalofChristiancivilization.Uponit
dependsourownBritishlife,andthelongcontinuityofourinstitutionsandourEmpire.The
wholefuryandmightoftheenemymustverysoonbeturnedonus.
HitlerknowsthathewillhavetobreakusinthisIslandorlosethewar.Ifwecanstandupto
him,allEuropemaybefreeandthelifeoftheworldmaymoveforwardintobroad,sunlit
uplands.Butifwefail,thenthewholeworld,includingtheUnitedStates,includingallthat
wehaveknownandcaredfor,willsinkintotheabyssofanewDarkAgemademore
sinister,andperhapsmoreprotracted,bythelightsofpervertedscience.
Letusthereforebraceourselvestoourduties,andsobearourselvesthatiftheBritish
EmpireanditsCommonwealthlastforathousandyears,menwillstillsay,Thiswastheir
finesthour.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
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Listentothespeech.

WilliamFaulkner,NobelPrizeAcceptanceSpeech
December10,1950Stockholm,Sweden

Atruemasterofthewrittenword,WilliamFaulknerdidnotoftenmakepublichisgiftforthespoken
variety.SotherewassomeinterestastowhathewouldsaywhenacceptingtheNobelPeacePrizeforhis
powerfulandartisticallyuniquecontributiontothemodernAmericannovel.Theyearwas1950,the
SovietUnionhadtappedthepotentialoftheatomicbomb,andtheatmosphereinthetheUnitedStates
crackledwiththefearofthemusingit.Faulknerchallengedpoets,authors,andallmankindtothink
beyondthequestionsofWhenwillIbeblownup?andinsteadcontinuetocreateoutofthematerials
ofthehumanspiritsomethingwhichdidnotexistbefore.
WorthyExcerpt:
Ideclinetoaccepttheendofman.Itiseasyenoughtosaythatmanisimmortalbecausehe
willendure:thatwhenthelastdingdongofdoomhasclangedandfadedfromthelast
worthlessrockhangingtidelessinthelastredanddyingevening,thateventhentherewill
stillbeonemoresound:thatofhispunyinexhaustiblevoice,stilltalking.Irefusetoaccept
this.Ibelievethatmanwillnotmerelyendure:hewillprevail.Heisimmortal,notbecause
healoneamongcreatureshasaninexhaustiblevoice,butbecausehehasasoul,aspirit
capableofcompassionandsacrificeandendurance.Thepoets,thewriters,dutyistowrite
aboutthesethings.Itishisprivilegetohelpmanendurebyliftinghisheart,byreminding
himofthecourageandhonorandhopeandprideandcompassionandpityandsacrifice
whichhavebeenthegloryofhispast.Thepoetsvoiceneednotmerelybetherecordof
man,itcanbeoneoftheprops,thepillarstohelphimendureandprevail.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

DwightD.Eisenhower,FarewellAddress
January17,1961Washington,D.C.

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The1950swereatimeofeverincreasingmilitaryspending,astheUnitedStatessoughttofight
communismabroadandpreventitathome.AsPresidentDwightD.Eisenhowerleftoffice,morethan
halfofthefederalbudgetwasallocatedfordefensepurposes.Eisenhower,formerGeneraloftheArmy,
wascertainlynotopposedtotheuseofmilitarypowertokeepthepeace.Still,hesawfittousehis
FarewellAddresstowarnthenationofthedangersposedbythemilitaryindustrialcomplex,
referringtotherelationshipbetweenthearmedforces,thegovernment,andthesuppliersofwar
materials.Eisenhowerwaswaryofthelargeroledefensespendingplayedintheeconomy,and
understoodthepoliticalandcorporatecorruptionthatcouldresultifthepublicwasnotvigilantin
checkingit.
WorthyExcerpt:
Inthecouncilsofgovernment,wemustguardagainsttheacquisitionofunwarranted
influence,whethersoughtorunsought,bythemilitaryindustrialcomplex.Thepotentialfor
thedisastrousriseofmisplacedpowerexistsandwillpersist.Wemustneverlettheweight
ofthiscombinationendangerourlibertiesordemocraticprocesses.Weshouldtakenothing
forgranted.Onlyanalertandknowledgeablecitizenrycancompelthepropermeshingofthe
hugeindustrialandmilitarymachineryofdefensewithourpeacefulmethodsandgoals,so
thatsecurityandlibertymayprospertogether.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.

MarcusTulliusCicero,TheFirstOrationAgainstCatiline
63BCRome
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LuciusSergiusCatilina(Catilinetohisfriends)wasaveryjealousman.HavingoncerunagainstCicero
forthepositionofconsulandlost,hebecamedeterminedtowinthenextelectionbyanydeviousmethod
necessary.PlanAwastobribepeopletovoteforhim,andwhenthatdidntwork,hedecidedtogofor
bustandsimplyknockCicerooffonelectionday.ThisplanwasferretedoutbytheevervigilantCicero,
theelectionwaspostponed,andtheSenateestablishedmaritallaw.Whentheelectionfinallywasheld,
themurderercumcandidatewassurprisinglytrouncedatthepolls.NowitwastimeforCatilinesPlan
C:raiseanarmyofcoconspirators,createinsurrectionthroughoutItaly,overthrowthegovernment,and
sliceanddiceasmanySenatorsastheycouldgettheircookyhandson.ButCicerowasagainonestep
aheadanddiscoveredtheplan.HecalledtheSenatetogetherforameetingattheTempleofJupiterinthe
Capitol,anorificeonlyusedintimesofgreatcrisis.Catiline,whoseriouslydidntknowwhenhewasnot
welcome,decidedtocrashtheparty.Withhisarchenemyinattendance,CicerobeganhisCatiline
Orations,aseriesofspeechescoveringhowhesavedRomefromrebellion,theguiltofCatiline,andthe
needtowhackheandhiscronies.
WorthyExcerpt:
Iwish,Oconscriptfathers,tobemercifulIwishnottoappearnegligentamidsuchdanger
tothestatebutIdonowaccusemyselfofremissnessandculpableinactivity.Acampis
pitchedinItaly,attheentranceofEtruria,inhostilitytotherepublicthenumberofthe
enemyincreaseseverydayandyetthegeneralofthatcamp,theleaderofthoseenemies,we
seewithinthewallsaye,andeveninthesenateplanningeverydaysomeinternalinjuryto
therepublic.If,OCatiline,Ishouldnoworderyoutobearrested,tobeputtodeath,I
should,Isuppose,havetofearlestallgoodmenshouldsaythatIhadactedtardily,rather
thanthatanyoneshouldaffirmthatIactedcruelly.Butyetthis,whichoughttohavebeen
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donelongsince,IhavegoodreasonfornotdoingasyetIwillputyoutodeath,then,when
thereshallbenotonepersonpossibletobefoundsowicked,soabandoned,solikeyourself,
asnottoallowthatithasbeenrightlydone.Aslongasonepersonexistswhocandareto
defendyou,youshalllivebutyoushallliveasyoudonow,surroundedbymymanyand
trustyguards,sothatyoushallnotbeabletostironefingeragainsttherepublicmanyeyes
andearsshallstillobserveandwatchyou,astheyhavehithertodone,thoyoushallnot
perceivethem.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

RonaldReagan,RemarksattheBrandenburgGate
June12,1987BrandenburgGate,Berlin

SincetheendofWorldWarII,Germanyhadbeenadividedcountry,theWestfreeanddemocratic,the
Eastunderauthoritariancommunistcontrol.WhenPresidentReagantookoffice,hewascommittednot
onlytounitingthatcountry,buttobringingdowntheentireEvilEmpire.Whiletheimportanceof
Reagansroleinsuccessfullydoingsoisendlesslydebated,itbeyonddisputethatheexertedsome
influenceinbringingtheColdWartoanend.Thereisnomorememorableandsymbolicmomentofthis
influencethenwhenReaganstoodattheBerlinwall,themostvisiblesymboloftheIronCurtain,and
challengedGorbachevtoteardownthiswall!
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WorthyExcerpt:
Wewelcomechangeandopennessforwebelievethatfreedomandsecuritygotogether,
thattheadvanceofhumanlibertycanonlystrengthenthecauseofworldpeace.Thereisone
signtheSovietscanmakethatwouldbeunmistakable,thatwouldadvancedramaticallythe
causeoffreedomandpeace.GeneralSecretaryGorbachev,ifyouseekpeace,ifyouseek
prosperityfortheSovietUnionandeasternEurope,ifyouseekliberalization,comehereto
thisgate.Mr.Gorbachev,openthisgate.Mr.Gorbachev,teardownthiswall!

Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentospeech.

Pericles,FuneralOration
431BCAthens

Pericles,masterstatesman,orator,andgeneral,wastruly,asThuciydiesdubbedhim,thefirstcitizenof
Athens.PericleswasaproductoftheSophistsandhadbeenpersonallytutoredbythegreatphilosopher
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Anaxagoras.HisstudywiththeSophistsmadePericlesahighlypersuasiveorator.Throughhisspeeches,
hegalvanizedAthenianstoundertakeanenormouspublicworksprojectthatcreatedhundredsof
temples,includingthePantheon.
PericlesgiftoforationwasputtothetestduringtheepicbattlesofthePeloponnesianWar,acivilwar
betweenAthensandSparta.HisspeechesinspiredAthenianstofighttobecomethenumberonepowerin
Greece.InFebruaryof431B.C.,Athenshadtheirannualpublicfuneraltohonorallthosewhodiedin
war.Pericleswasaskedtogivethetraditionalfuneraloration.Ratherthanfocushisspeechon
enumeratingtheconquestsofAthensfallenheroes,Periclesinsteadusedhisfuneralorationtolaudthe
gloryofAthensitselfandinspirethelivingtomakesurethesoldiershadnotdiedinvain.
Over2,000yearslater,PericlesfuneralorationinspiredAbrahamLincolnsGettysburgAddress.Like
Pericles,Lincolnwasaleaderduringatimeofcivilwar.LikePericles,Lincolnfocusedonexhortingthe
livingtolivetheirlivesinawaythatwouldmakethesacrificeoffallenwarriorsworthwhile.
WorthyExcerpt:
SodiedthesemenasbecameAthenians.You,theirsurvivors,mustdeterminetohaveas
unfalteringaresolutioninthefield,thoughyoumaypraythatitmayhaveahappierissue.
Andnotcontentedwithideasderivedonlyfromwordsoftheadvantageswhichareboundup
withthedefenseofyourcountry,thoughthesewouldfurnishavaluabletexttoaspeaker
evenbeforeanaudiencesoalivetothemasthepresent,youmustyourselvesrealizethe
powerofAthens,andfeedyoureyesuponherfromdaytoday,tillloveofherfillsyour
heartsandthen,whenallhergreatnessshallbreakuponyou,youmustreflectthatitwasby
courage,senseofduty,andakeenfeelingofhonorinactionthatmenwereenabledtowin
allthis,andthatnopersonalfailureinanenterprisecouldmakethemconsenttodeprive
theircountryoftheirvalor,buttheylaiditatherfeetasthemostgloriouscontributionthat
theycouldoffer.
Readthefulltexthere.

GeneralDouglasMacArthur,FarewellAddresstoCongress
April19,1951,WashingtonD.C.

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DuringtheKoreanWar,GeneralMacArthurandPresidentTrumanclashedoverthethreatposedbythe
ChinesePeoplesLiberationArmyandtheirincursionintoKorea.MacArthurcontinuallypressed
TrumanforpermissiontobombbasesinManchuria,believingthewarneededtobeextendedinareaand
scope.TrumanrefusedtheGeneralsrequests,arguingthatdirectlydrawingChinaintothewarwould
arousetheSovietUniontoaction.MacArthurcontinuedtopresshiscase,andTruman,accusingthe
Generalofinsubordination,madethedecisiontorelieveMacArthurofhiscommand.Afterservingfor
52yearsandinthreewars,theGeneralsmilitarycareerwasover.MacArthurreturnedtotheUnited
StatesandgavethisfarewelladdresstoCongress.
WorthyExcerpt:
Iamclosingmy52yearsofmilitaryservice.WhenIjoinedtheArmy,evenbeforetheturn
ofthecentury,itwasthefulfillmentofallofmyboyishhopesanddreams.Theworldhas
turnedovermanytimessinceItooktheoathontheplainatWestPoint,andthehopesand
dreamshavelongsincevanished,butIstillremembertherefrainofoneofthemostpopular
barrackballadsofthatdaywhichproclaimedmostproudlythatoldsoldiersneverdiethey
justfadeaway.
Andliketheoldsoldierofthatballad,Inowclosemymilitarycareerandjustfadeaway,an
oldsoldierwhotriedtodohisdutyasGodgavehimthelighttoseethatduty.
GoodBye.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.

TheodoreRoosevelt,StrengthandDecency

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Rooseveltwasanadvocateofhavingmanychildrenandmakingsurethenextgenerationwouldcontinue
toupholdthegreatvirtuesofcivilization.Hewasalwaysconcernedthatyoungmennotbecoddledor
cowardly,andgrowuptoliverugged,strenuous,andthoroughlymanlylives.Buthealsostrongly
believedthatbeingruggedlymanlyandbeingrefinedinmindandspiritwerenotincompatibleand
shouldinfactgohandandhand.Inthisspeech,heexhortsyoungmentopursuevirtuousmanliness.
Amen,brother,amen.
WorthyExcerpt:
Itispeculiarlyincumbentuponyouwhohavestrengthtosetarightexampletoothers.Iask
youtorememberthatyoucannotretainyourselfrespectifyouarelooseandfouloftongue,
thatamanwhoistoleadacleanandhonorablelifemustinevitablysufferifhisspeech
likewiseisnotcleanandhonorable.Everymanhereknowsthetemptationsthatbesetallof
usinthisworld.Attimesanymanwillslip.Idonotexpectperfection,butIdoexpect
genuineandsincereefforttowardbeingdecentandcleanlyinthought,inword,andindeed.
AsIsaidattheoutset,Ihailtheworkofthissocietyastypifyingoneofthoseforceswhich
tendtothebettermentandupliftingofoursocialsystem.Ourwholeeffortshouldbetoward
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securingacombinationofthestrongqualitieswiththosequalitieswhichwetermvirtues.I
expectyoutobestrong.Iwouldnotrespectyouifyouwerenot.Idonotwanttosee
ChristianityprofessedonlybyweaklingsIwanttoseeitamovingspiritamongmenof
strength.Idonotexpectyoutoloseoneparticleofyourstrengthorcouragebybeingdecent.
Onthecontrary,Ishouldhopetoseeeachmanwhoisamemberofthissociety,fromhis
membershipinitbecomeallthefittertodotheroughworkoftheworldallthefitterto
workintimeofpeaceandif,whichmayHeavenforfend,warshouldcome,allthefitterto
fightintimeofwar.Idesiretoseeinthiscountrythedecentmenstrongandthestrongmen
decent,anduntilwegetthatcombinationinprettygoodshapewearenotgoingtobebyany
meansassuccessfulasweshouldbe.Thereisalwaysatendencyamongveryyoungmen
andamongboyswhoarenotquiteyoungmenasyettothinkthattobewickedisrather
smarttothinkitshowsthattheyaremen.Oh,howoftenyouseesomeyoungfellowwho
boaststhatheisgoingtoseelife,meaningbythatthatheisgoingtoseethatpartoflife
whichitisathousandfoldbettershouldremainunseen!
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

AbrahamLincoln,2ndInauguralAddress
March4,1865Washington,D.C.

TheUnionsvictorywasbutamonthawayasAbrahamLincolnbeganhissecondtermaspresidentofa
bitterlyrupturedUnitedStates.LiketheGettysburgAddress,Lincolnkeepsthisspeechonlyaslongas
needful.WhiletherearethosewhostilldebatewhethertheCivilWarwastrulyfoughtoverslaveryor
not,Lincolncertainlybelievedso.Tohim,slaverywasagreatnationalsin,andthebloodshedduringthe
warwastheatoningsacrificeforthatevil.
Hedoesnotrelishtheprospectofcomingvictoryinstead,heappealstohiscountrymentoremember
thatthewarwastrulyfoughtbetweenbrothers.WhenthewarwasoverandtheConfederacyforcedto
returntotheUnion,LincolnwaspreparedtotreattheSouthwithrelativeleniency.Hedidnotbelieve
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secessionwastrulypossible,andthustheSouthhadnevertrulylefttheUnion.Reconstructionwouldnot
meanvengeance,butthereturnhomeofaterriblyerrantson.
WorthyExcerpt:
Fondlydowehope,ferventlydowepray,thatthismightyscourgeofwarmayspeedilypass
away.Yet,ifGodwillsthatitcontinueuntilallthewealthpiledbythebondsmanstwo
hundredandfiftyyearsofunrequitedtoilshallbesunk,anduntileverydropofblooddrawn
withthelashshallbepaidbyanotherdrawnwiththesword,aswassaidthreethousand
yearsago,sostillitmustbesaidthejudgmentsoftheLordaretrueandrighteous
altogether.
Withmalicetowardnone,withcharityforall,withfirmnessintherightasGodgivesusto
seetheright,letusstriveontofinishtheworkwearein,tobindupthenationswounds,to
careforhimwhoshallhavebornethebattleandforhiswidowandhisorphan,todoall
whichmayachieveandcherishajustandlastingpeaceamongourselvesandwithall
nations.

Readfulltextofspeechhere.

PatrickHenry,GiveMeLibertyorGiveMeDeath!
March23,1775Richmond,VA

Foradecade,revolutionarysentimentshadbeenbrewinginVirginiaandPatrickHenryhadalwaysbeen
inthethickofit,stirringthepot.HenrybecameparticularlyenflamedbytheStampActof1764,which
promptedhimtogivehissocalledtreasonspeech,spurringtheBurgessestopasstheVirginia
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Resolvesbanningtheact.TensionsbetweenthecoloniesandtheCrowncontinuedtobuild,andin1775,
Massachusettspatriotsbeganmakingpreparationsforwar.HenrybelievedthatVirginiashouldfollow
suit.AtameetingheldinSt.JohnsChurchinRichmond,Henrypresentedresolutionstomakeready
Virginiasdefenses.Seekingtopersuadehisfellowdelegatesoftheurgencyofhismessage,hegavea
rousingandmemorablespeech,climaxingisthatnowfamousline,Givemelibertyofgivemedeath!
WorthyExcerpt:
Thebattle,sir,isnottothestrongaloneitistothevigilant,theactive,thebrave.Besides,
sir,wehavenoelection.Ifwewerebaseenoughtodesireit,itisnowtoolatetoretirefrom
thecontest.Thereisnoretreatbutinsubmissionandslavery!Ourchainsareforged!Their
clankingmaybeheardontheplainsofBoston!Thewarisinevitableandletitcome!I
repeatit,sir,letitcome!
Itisinvain,sir,toextenuatethematter.Gentlemenmaycry,Peace!Peace!butthereis
nopeace.Thewarisactuallybegun!Thenextgalethatsweepsfromthenorthwillbringto
ourearstheclashofresoundingarms!Ourbrethrenarealreadyinthefield!Whystandwe
hereidle?Whatisitthatgentlemenwish?Whatwouldtheyhave?Islifesodear,orpeaceso
sweet,astobepurchasedatthepriceofchainsandslavery?Forbidit,AlmightyGod!I
knownotwhatcourseothersmaytakebutasforme,givemeliberty,orgivemedeath!
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

RonaldReagan,40thAnniversaryofDDay
June6,1984PointeduHoc,France

WhattheArmyRangersdidonDDayatPointeDuHocisataleeverymanworthhissaltshouldbe
familiarwith.PointeduHocwasasheer100footclifflocatedinbetweenOmahaandUtahbeaches.
Perchedatopthecliffsatsixcasematescapableofbeingmanned,armed,andtakingoutthemenonthe
beaches.AstheGermansfireduponthem,theRangersscaledthecliffusingropesandladders,foundthe
guns(whichhadbeenmovedfromthecasemates)anddestroyedthem.Withoutreinforcementsfortwo
days,theRangersaloneheldtheirpositionandfendedoffGermancounterattacks.Theseskirmishes
proveddeadlyonly90oftheoriginal225Rangerlandingforcesurvived.
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Onthe40thanniversaryofDDay,PresidentReagangaveamovingtributetothesemen,manyofwhom
werepresentattheoccasion.
WorthyExcerpt:

ThesearetheboysofPointeduHoc.Thesearethemenwhotookthecliffs.Thesearethe
championswhohelpedfreeacontinent.Thesearetheheroeswhohelpedendawar.
Gentlemen,IlookatyouandIthinkofthewordsofStephenSpenderspoem.Youaremen
whoinyourlivesfoughtforlifeandleftthevividairsignedwithyourhonor
Fortysummershavepassedsincethebattlethatyoufoughthere.Youwereyoungtheday
youtookthesecliffssomeofyouwerehardlymorethanboys,withthedeepestjoysoflife
beforeyou.Yetyouriskedeverythinghere.Why?Whydidyoudoit?Whatimpelledyouto
putasidetheinstinctforselfpreservationandriskyourlivestotakethesecliffs?What
inspiredallthemenofthearmiesthatmethere?Welookatyou,andsomehowweknowthe
answer.Itwasfaith,andbeliefitwasloyaltyandlove.
ThemenofNormandyhadfaiththatwhattheyweredoingwasright,faiththattheyfought
forallhumanity,faiththatajustGodwouldgrantthemmercyonthisbeachheadoronthe
next.ItwasthedeepknowledgeandprayGodwehavenotlostitthatthereisa
profoundmoraldifferencebetweentheuseofforceforliberationandtheuseofforcefor
conquest.Youwereheretoliberate,nottoconquer,andsoyouandthoseothersdidnot
doubtyourcause.Andyouwererightnottodoubt.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.
JohnF.Kennedy,TheDecisiontoGototheMoon
May25,1961Houston,TX

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OnApril12,1961,theSovietslaunchedthefirstmanintospace.Khrushchevusedthistriumphasprime
evidenceofcommunismssuperiorityoverdecadentcapitalism.Embarrassed,theUnitedStatesfearedit
wasfallingbehindtheSovietUnionandlosingthespacerace.Afterconsultingwithpoliticaland
NASAofficials,KennedydecideditwastimeforAmericatoboldlygowherenomanhadgonebefore
byputtingamanonthemoon.ThefeatwouldnotonlycatapultthenationovertheSovietUnion,but
alsoallowmantomorefullyexplorethemysteriesofspace.Andthismissionwouldbeaccomplishedby
theendofthe1960s.Whenwasthelasttimeapresidenthadthecajonestopubliclyissuea
straightforward,ambitiousgoalandsetatimelineforitssuccess?
WorthyExcerpt:
Thereisnostrife,noprejudice,nonationalconflictinouterspaceasyet.Itshazardsare
hostiletousall.Itsconquestdeservesthebestofallmankind,anditsopportunityfor
peacefulcooperationmanynevercomeagain.Butwhy,somesay,themoon?Whychoose
thisasourgoal?Andtheymaywellaskwhyclimbthehighestmountain?Why,35years
ago,flytheAtlantic?WhydoesRiceplayTexas?
Wechoosetogotothemoon.Wechoosetogotothemooninthisdecadeanddotheother
things,notbecausetheyareeasy,butbecausetheyarehard,becausethatgoalwillserveto
organizeandmeasurethebestofourenergiesandskills,becausethatchallengeisonethat
wearewillingtoaccept,oneweareunwillingtopostpone,andonewhichweintendtowin,
andtheothers,too.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentospeech.

FrederickDouglass,WhattotheSlaveistheFourthofJuly?
July5,1852Rochester,NY

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FrederickDouglass,formerslave,abolitionist,andengineerontheundergroundrailroad,wasapopular
speakerontheantislaverycircuit.Hetraveledthousandsofmileseachyear,givinghundredsof
speeches.Yetthemoneyheearnedfromlecturingwasnotenoughtobecomefinanciallycomfortable,
andheandhisfamilystruggled.DouglasswasdisillusionedbytherepercussionsoftheFugitiveSlave
Act,andhisabolitionistleaningsgrewmorestridentandbold.IfthecitizensofRochester,NewYork
hadexpectedtobeflatteredbyDouglasswhentheyaskedhimtospeakontheFourth,theyweresoon
disavowedofthatidea.Douglasstooktheopportunitytodefiantlypointouttheripehypocrisyofa
nationcelebratingtheiridealsoffreedomandequalitywhilesimultaneouslymiredintheevilofslavery.
Whilethespeechsurelymadeeventhemostliberalaudiencememberssquirmnonetheless,thecrowed
letlooseinuniversalapplausewhenDouglassfinished.
WorthyExcerpt:
Iamnotincludedwithinthepaleofthisgloriousanniversary!Yourhighindependenceonly
revealstheimmeasurabledistancebetweenus.Theblessingsinwhichyouthisdayrejoice
arenotenjoyedincommon.Therichinheritanceofjustice,liberty,prosperity,and
independencebequeathedbyyourfathersissharedbyyou,notbyme.Thesunlightthat
broughtlifeandhealingtoyouhasbroughtstripesanddeathtome.ThisFourthofJulyis
yours,notmine.Youmayrejoice,Imustmourn.Todragamaninfettersintothegrand
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illuminatedtempleofliberty,andcalluponhimtojoinyouinjoyousanthems,were
inhumanmockeryandsacrilegiousirony.Doyoumean,citizens,tomockme,byaskingme
tospeaktoday?
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

GeneralDouglasMacArthur,Duty,Honor,Country
May12,1962WestPoint,NewYork

GeneralDouglasMacArthur,GeneraloftheArmyandamanwhofoughtinthreewars,knewsomething
ofDuty,Honor,Country.In1962,MacArthurwasinthetwilightofhislifeandcametoWestPointto
accepttheSylvanusThayerAwardandparticipateinhisfinalcadetrollcall.Hisaddressreflectsupon
andcelebratesthebraveandcourageousmenwhocamebefore,menhepersonallyled,menwho
embodiedDuty,Honor,Country.
Therearemanygreatspeechesinthislist,butIhopeyouwillpausetoreadtheentiretyofthisone.
Pickinganexcerptwasquitedifficult,assomanyofthepassagesareinspiring.Amustreadforallmen.
WorthyExcerpt:
Youaretheleavenwhichbindstogethertheentirefabricofournationalsystemofdefense.
Fromyourrankscomethegreatcaptainswhoholdthenationsdestinyintheirhandsthe
momentthewartocsinsounds.TheLongGrayLinehasneverfailedus.Wereyoutodoso,
amillionghostsinolivedrab,inbrownkhaki,inblueandgray,wouldrisefromtheirwhite
crossesthunderingthosemagicwords:Duty,Honor,Country.
Thisdoesnotmeanthatyouarewarmongers.
Onthecontrary,thesoldier,aboveallotherpeople,praysforpeace,forhemustsufferand
bearthedeepestwoundsandscarsofwar.
ButalwaysinourearsringtheominouswordsofPlato,thatwisestofallphilosophers:
Onlythedeadhaveseentheendofwar.
Theshadowsarelengtheningforme.Thetwilightishere.Mydaysofoldhavevanished,
toneandtint.Theyhavegoneglimmeringthroughthedreamsofthingsthatwere.Their
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memoryisoneofwondrousbeauty,wateredbytears,andcoaxedandcaressedbythesmiles
ofyesterday.Ilistenvainly,butwiththirstyears,forthewitchingmelodyoffaintbugles
blowingreveille,offardrumsbeatingthelongroll.InmydreamsIhearagainthecrashof
guns,therattleofmusketry,thestrange,mournfulmutterofthebattlefield.
Butintheeveningofmymemory,alwaysIcomebacktoWestPoint.
Alwaysthereechoesandreechoes:Duty,Honor,Country.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.

TheodoreRoosevelt,CitizenshipinaRepublic
April23,1910Paris,France

AttheendofTheodoreRooseveltssecondterminoffice,hesetouttotourAfricaandEurope,hopingto
allowhissuccessor,PresidentTaft,tostepintotheenormousshoesTRhadleftandbecomehisown
man.AfterasafariinAfrica,hetraveledthroughoutEurope.WhileinFrance,hewasinvitedtospeakat
thehistoricUniversityofParis.Rooseveltusedtheopportunitytodeliverapowerfuladdressonthe
requirementsofcitizenship,thecharacteristicswhichwouldkeepdemocracieslikeFranceandtheUnited
Statesrobustandstrong.Thisspeechisfamousforthemaninthearenaquote,buttheentirespeechis
anabsolutemustread.
WorthyExcerpt:
Letthemanoflearning,themanofletteredleisure,bewareofthatqueerandcheap
temptationtoposetohimselfandtoothersasacynic,asthemanwhohasoutgrown
emotionsandbeliefs,themantowhomgoodandevilareasone.Thepoorestwaytoface
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lifeistofaceitwithasneer.Therearemanymenwhofeelakindoftwisterpridein
cynicismtherearemanywhoconfinethemselvestocriticismofthewayothersdowhat
theythemselvesdarenotevenattempt.Thereisnomoreunhealthybeing,nomanless
worthyofrespect,thanhewhoeitherreallyholds,orfeignstohold,anattitudeofsneering
disbelieftowardallthatisgreatandlofty,whetherinachievementorinthatnobleeffort
which,evenifitfails,comestosecondachievement.Acynicalhabitofthoughtandspeech,
areadinesstocriticiseworkwhichthecritichimselfnevertriestoperform,anintellectual
aloofnesswhichwillnotacceptcontactwithlifesrealitiesallthesearemarks,notasthe
possessorwouldfaintothink,ofsuperioritybutofweakness.Theymarkthemenunfitto
beartheirpartpainfullyinthesternstrifeofliving,whoseek,intheaffectionofcontempt
fortheachievementsofothers,tohidefromothersandfromthemselvesintheirown
weakness.Therleiseasythereisnoneeasier,saveonlytherleofthemanwhosneers
alikeatbothcriticismandperformance.
Itisnotthecriticwhocountsnotthemanwhopointsouthowthestrongmanstumbles,or
wherethedoerofdeedscouldhavedonethembetter.Thecreditbelongstothemanwhois
actuallyinthearena,whosefaceismarredbydustandsweatandbloodwhostrives
valiantlywhoerrs,whocomesshortagainandagain,becausethereisnoeffortwithout
errorandshortcomingbutwhodoesactuallystrivetodothedeedswhoknowsgreat
enthusiasms,thegreatdevotionswhospendshimselfinaworthycausewhoatthebest
knowsintheendthetriumphofhighachievement,andwhoattheworst,ifhefails,atleast
failswhiledaringgreatly,sothathisplaceshallneverbewiththosecoldandtimidsouls
whoneitherknowvictorynordefeat.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.

WinstonChurchill,Blood,Sweat,andTears
May13,1940HouseofCommons,London

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WinstonChurchillsfirstspeechtotheHouseofCommonsasBritainsnewPrimeMinistergotofftoan
auspiciousstart.Hiswelcometothatassemblywasquitetepid,whileoutgoingPMNevilleChamberlain
wasenthusiasticallyapplauded(theworlddidnotyetknowjusthowdisastroushisappeasementpolicies
wouldproveanddidnottrustChurchill).ButChurchillsfirstspeech,thefirstofthreepowerfuloratories
hegaveduringtheBattleofFrance,wouldprovethatEnglandwasinmorethancapablehands.A
seeminglyunstoppableHitlerwasadvancingrapidlyacrossEurope,andChurchillwastednotimein
callinghispeopletoarms.WhileTRhadactuallybeenthefirsttoutterthephrase,blood,sweatand
tears,itwasChurchillsuseofthesewordsthatwouldleaveaninedibleandinspiringimpressionupon
theworldsmind.
WorthyExcerpt
IsaytotheHouseasIsaidtoministerswhohavejoinedthisgovernment,Ihavenothingto
offerbutblood,toil,tears,andsweat.Wehavebeforeusanordealofthemostgrievous
kind.Wehavebeforeusmany,manymonthsofstruggleandsuffering.
Youask,whatisourpolicy?Isayitistowagewarbyland,sea,andair.Warwithallour
mightandwithallthestrengthGodhasgivenus,andtowagewaragainstamonstrous
tyrannyneversurpassedinthedarkandlamentablecatalogueofhumancrime.Thatisour
policy.
Youask,whatisouraim?Icananswerinoneword.Itisvictory.Victoryatallcosts
VictoryinspiteofallterrorsVictory,howeverlongandhardtheroadmaybe,forwithout
victorythereisnosurvival.
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeech.

FranklinDelanoRoosevelt,PearlHarborAddresstotheNation
December8,1941Washington,D.C.

TheattackonPearlHarbor,December7,1941,shockedtheUnitedStatestoitscore,outraginganation
thathadhopedtostayoutofthemountingturmoilinAsiaandEurope.Overnight,thecountryunitedin
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desiretoenterthewar.Thedayaftertheattacks,FDRaddressedthenationinabrief,butelectrifying
speech,declaringwaronJapanandgivingassurancethattheUnitedStateswouldattainvictory.
Besuretolistentotheaudioofthespeech.ImagineeveryAmericanfamily,rattledandworried,
listeningaroundtheradiotowhattheirpresidentwouldsay.Theyknewtheirwholeworldwasaboutto
changeforever.ListentothereactionofCongressastheyapplaudandcheerFDRswords.Theemotion
issoveryrealandpalatableittrulytransportsyoubacktothatcriticalmomentintime.
WorthyExcerpt:
Mr.VicePresident,Mr.Speaker,membersoftheSenateandtheHouseofRepresentatives:
yesterday,December7,1941adatewhichwillliveininfamytheUnitedStatesofAmerica
wassuddenlyanddeliberatelyattackedbynavalandairforcesoftheEmpireofJapan..
Butalwayswillourwholenationrememberthecharacteroftheonslaughtagainstus.No
matterhowlongitmaytakeustoovercomethispremeditatedinvasion,theAmericanpeople
intheirrighteousmightwillwinthroughtoabsolutevictory.
IbelievethatIinterpretthewilloftheCongressandofthepeoplewhenIassertthatwewill
notonlydefendourselvestotheuttermostbutwillmakeitverycertainthatthisformof
treacheryshallneveragainendangerus.
Hostilitiesexist.Thereisnoblinkingatthefactthatourpeople,ourterritoryandour
interestsareingravedanger.
Withconfidenceinourarmedforceswiththeunboundingdeterminationofourpeoplewe
willgaintheinevitabletriumphsohelpusGod.
Readthefulltexthere.
Listentothespeech.

JesusChrist,TheSermonontheMount
33A.D.Jerusalem

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WhetheronebelievesthatJesusofNazarethwastheSonofGodorsimplyawiseteacher,itis
impossibletodenytheimpactofperhapstheworldsmostfamousspeech:TheSermonontheMount.
Nospeechhasbeenmorepondered,moreinfluential,ormorequoted.Itintroducedaprayernowfamiliar
theworldoverandutteredintrenches,churches,andbedsidesaroundtheglobe.Itintroducedacodeof
conductbillionsofbelievershaveadoptedastheirlofty,ifnotnotalwaysattainable,goal.Whilemuchof
thesermonhasrootsinJewishlaw,theadvicegivenintheBeatitudesrepresentedadramaticandradical
departurefromtheeyeforaneyesystemofjusticeknownintheancientworld.Thestandardsof
behavioroutlinedinthesermonhavegivenbelieversandnonbelieversalikeplentytocontemplateand
discussinthetwothousandyearssinceitwasgiven.
WorthyExcerpt:
Blessedarethepoorinspirit:fortheirsisthekingdomofheaven.
Blessedaretheythatmourn:fortheyshallbecomforted.
Blessedarethemeek:fortheyshallinherittheearth.
Blessedaretheywhichdohungerandthirstafter
righteousness:fortheyshallbefilled.
Blessedarethemerciful:fortheyshallobtainmercy.
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Blessedarethepureinheart:fortheyshallseeGod.
Blessedarethepeacemakers:fortheyshallbecalledthe
childrenofGod.
Blessedaretheywhicharepersecutedforrighteousnesssake:
fortheirsisthekingdomofheaven.
SeeMatthewChapter57forfulltext.

MartinLutherKingJr.,IHaveaDream
August28,1963Washington,D.C.

MartinLutherKingJr.sIHaveaDreamSpeechishandsdownoneofthegreatest,ifnotthegreatest,
piecesoforatoryinAmericanhistory.Kingscharisma,skillsinrhetoric,andpassion,placehimina
leagueofhisown.Acenturyafterslaveryended,acenturyafterAfricanAmericanswerepromisedfull
equality,blackchildrenwerebeinghoseddowninthestreets,spatupon,busedtoseparateschools,
turnedawayfromrestaurants,anddeniedtreatmentasfullhumanbeings.Inthismidstofthisegregious
trackrecord,Dr.Kingvoicedaclear,compellingmessageofhope,adreamthatthingswouldnotalways
beastheywere,andthatanewdaywascoming.
Manypeoplehaveseenexcerptsofthespeech,butasurprisinglynumberofadultsmyageIhavenever
satdownandwatchedthespeechinitsentirety.Ichallengeyoutodojustthat.Itisjustaselectrifying
andmovingtodayasitwasin1963.
WorthyExcerpt:
IhaveadreamthatonedaydowninAlabama,withitsviciousracists,withitsgovernor
havinghislipsdrippingwiththewordsofinterpositionandnullificationonedayright
thereinAlabamalittleblackboysandblackgirlswillbeabletojoinhandswithlittlewhite
boysandwhitegirlsassistersandbrothers.
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Ihaveadreamtoday.
Ihaveadreamthatonedayeveryvalleyshallbeexalted,andeveryhillandmountainshall
bemadelow,theroughplaceswillbemadeplain,andthecrookedplaceswillbemade
straight,andthegloryoftheLordshallberevealedandallfleshshallseeittogether.
Thisisourhope.ThisisthefaiththatIgobacktotheSouthwith.Withthisfaithwewillbe
abletohewoutofthemountainofdespairastoneofhope.Withthisfaithwewillbeableto
transformthejanglingdiscordsofournationintoabeautifulsymphonyofbrotherhood.
Withthisfaithwewillbeabletoworktogether,topraytogether,tostruggletogether,togo
tojailtogether,tostandupforfreedomtogether,knowingthatwewillbefreeoneday.
Thiswillbetheday,thiswillbethedaywhenallofGodschildrenwillbeabletosingwith
newmeaningMycountrytisofthee,sweetlandofliberty,oftheeIsing.Landwheremy
fathersdied,landofthePilgrimspride,fromeverymountainside,letfreedomring!
Readfulltextofspeechhere.
Listentothespeechhere.

AbrahamLincoln,TheGettysburgAddress
November19,1863Gettysburg,Pennsylvania

272words.3minuteslong.Yet,theGettysburgAddressisunarguablyoneofthegreatestpiecesof
rhetoricinAmericanhistory.Dr.JRufusFears(oneofthegreatmodernorators)arguesthatthe
GettysburgAddress,alongwiththeConstitutionandtheDeclarationofIndependence,formthethree
foundingdocumentsofAmericanfreedom.AndIhavetoagree.
TheBattleofGettysburgleft8,000mendead.Thebodiesweretoonumeroustoburyproperlyandmany
wereatfirstplacedinshallowgraves.Weeksafterthebattle,headsandarmswerestickingupthrough
thegroundandthesmellofrottingfleshwassickening.
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Moneywasraisedforaproperreburial,anditwasdecidedthatthenewcemeteryshouldbededicated,to
sweetentheairofGettysburg,tosolemnizethisplaceofdeath.Aswastraditional,agreatorator,inthis
case,EdwardEverett,wasaskedtogiveasolemnandgrandspeechasamemorialtothefallenmen.
Lincolnwasasked2monthslater,almostasacausalafterthought.Hewastoaddafewremarksto
Everetts,afunctionmuchlikethemanwiththeceremonialscissorswhocutstheribbon.Legendshasit
thatLincolnsremarksweretheproductofpureinspiration,pennedonthebackofanenvelopeonthe
trainchuggingitswaytothesoontobehallowedgroundsofGettysburg.
Onthedayofthededication,Everettkeptthecrowdenthralledforafulltwohours.Lincolngotup,gave
hisspeech,andsatdownevenbeforethephotographerhadfinishedsettingupforapicture.Therewasa
longpausebeforeanyoneapplauded,andthentheapplausewasscatteredandpolite.
NoteveryoneimmediatelyrealizedthemagnificenceofLincolnsaddress.Butsomedid.Inaletterto
Lincoln,EverettpraisedthePresidentforhiseloquentandconcisespeech,saying,IshouldbegladifI
couldflattermyselfthatIcameasneartothecentralideaoftheoccasion,intwohours,asyoudidin
twominutes.
Andofcourse,intime,wehavecometofullyappreciatethegeniusandbeautyofthewordsspokenthat
day.Dr.FearsarguesthatLincolnsaddressdidmorethanmemorializethefallensoldiersatGettysburg
itaccomplishednothingshortoftransformingtheentiremeaningoftheCivilWar.Therewerenodetails
ofthebattlementionedinthespeech,nomentioningofsoldiersnames,ofGettysburgitself,oftheSouth
northeUnion,statesrightsnorsecession.Rather,Lincolnmeantthespeechtobesomethingfarlarger,a
discourseontheexperimenttestingwhethergovernmentcanmaintainthepropositionofequality.At
Gettysburg,theConstitutionexperiencedatransformation.Thefirstbirthhasbeentaintedbyslavery.
Themen,ofbothNorthandSouth,lyinginthegravesatGettysburghadmadeanatoningsacrificefor
thisgreatevil.AndtheConstitutionwouldbereborn,thistimelivinguptoitspromisesoffreedomand
equalityforall.

TheSpeech
Fourscoreandsevenyearsagoourfathersbroughtforthonthiscontinent,anewnation,
conceivedinliberty,anddedicatedtothepropositionthatallmenarecreatedequal.
Nowweareengagedinagreatcivilwar,testingwhetherthatnation,oranynationso
conceivedandsodedicated,canlongendure.Wearemetonagreatbattlefieldofthatwar.
Wehavecometodedicateaportionofthatfield,asafinalrestingplaceforthosewhohere
gavetheirlivesthatthatnationmightlive.Itisaltogetherfittingandproperthatweshould
dothis.
Butinalargersense,wecannotdedicatewecannotconsecratewecannothallowthis
ground.Thebravemen,livinganddead,whostruggledhere,haveconsecratedit,farabove
ourpoorpowertoaddordetract.Theworldwilllittlenote,norlongremember,whatwesay
here,butitcanneverforgetwhattheydidhere.Itisforustheliving,rather,tobededicated
heretotheunfinishedworkwhichtheywhofoughtherehavethusfarsonoblyadvanced.It
isratherforustobeherededicatedtothegreattaskremainingbeforeusthatfromthese
honoreddeadwetakeincreaseddevotiontothatcauseforwhichtheygavethelastfull
measureofdevotionthatweherehighlyresolvethatthesedeadshallnothavediedinvain
thatthisnation,underGod,shallhaveanewbirthoffreedomandthatgovernmentofthe
people,bythepeople,forthepeople,shallnotperishfromtheearth.
Tags:rhetoric
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