theodore roosevelt giving speech passionate campaigning

These famous speeches lifted hearts in dark times, gave hope in despair, refined the characters of men, inspired brave feats, gave courage to the weary, honored the dead, and changed the course of history.

How did we compile this list?

Great oratory has three components: style, substance, and impact.

Style: A great speech must be masterfully constructed. The best orators are masters of both the written and spoken word, and use words to create texts that are beautiful to both hear and read.

Substance: A speech may be flowery and charismatically presented, and yet lack any true substance at all. Great oratory must center on a worthy theme; it must appeal to and inspire the audience’s finest values and ideals.

Impact: Great oratory always seeks to persuade the audience of some fact or idea. The very best speeches change hearts and minds and seem as revelatory several decades or centuries removed as when they were first given.

And now for the speeches.

Contents [hide]

1. Theodore Roosevelt, “Duties of American Citizenship”>
2. Winston Churchill, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”>
3. Lou Gehrig, “Farewell to Baseball Address”>
4. Demosthenes, “The Third Philippic”>
5. Chief Joseph, “Surrender Speech”>
6. John F. Kennedy, “Inauguration Address”>
7. Ronald Reagan, “Address to the Nation on the Challenger”>
8. “Speech of Alexander the Great”>
9. William Wilberforce, “Abolition Speech”>
10. Theodore Roosevelt, “The Man with the Muck-rake”>
11. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “First Inaugural Address”>
12. Charles de Gaulle, “The Appeal of 18 June”>
13. Socrates, “Apology”>
14. George Washington, “Resignation Speech”>
15. Mahatma Gandhi, “Quit India”>
16. Winston Churchill, “Their Finest Hour”>
17. William Faulkner, “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech”>
18. Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Farewell Address”>
19. Marcus Tullius Cicero, “The First Oration Against Catiline”>
20. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate”>
21. Pericles, “Funeral Oration”>
22. General Douglas MacArthur, “Farewell Address to Congress”>
23. Theodore Roosevelt, “Strength and Decency”>
24. Abraham Lincoln, “2nd Inaugural Address”>
25. Patrick Henry, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”>
26. Ronald Reagan, “40th Anniversary of D-Day”>
27. John F. Kennedy, “The Decision to Go to the Moon”>
28. Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”>
29. General Douglas MacArthur, “Duty, Honor, Country”>
30. Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic”>
31. Winston Churchill, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears”>
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation”>
33. Jesus Christ, “The Sermon on the Mount”>
34. Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream”>
35. Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address”>

1. Theodore Roosevelt, “Duties of American