25 Speeches That Changed The World

Posted by on August 7, 2013

Throughout the course of world history, great speeches have influenced and changed the trajectory of our past. From Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount to the inaugural speeches of modern leaders, their words have become an inspiration to millions of people, especially in their darkest hours. Let us take a look at 25 speeches that changed the world.


Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Blood, Sweat, and TearsImage Source

In the middle of the largest war in history, for his first speech to the House of Commons as Britain’s Prime Minister on May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill proved that England was in more capable hands. He wasted no time in calling the people to arms as he echoed Theodore Roosevelt’s famous phrase of “blood, sweat, and tears.


What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?Image Source

Frederick Douglass was a former slave and an “engineer” for the underground railroad who became an abolitionist. He was disillusioned by the effects of the Fugitive Slave Act, so when he was asked to speak on the Fourth of July celebration in 1852 in Rochester, New York, he took the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of the nation in celebrating the ideals of freedom when it is mired by slavery.


The Decision to Go to the Moon

The Decision to Go to the MoonImage Source

When the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, its government flaunted this as an evidence that communism is far superior over corrupt capitalism. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy boldly declared its decision in Houston, TX to put the first man on the moon, which was accomplished by the end of 1960.


40th Anniversary of D-Day

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A moving tribute to the Army rangers who perished in Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, it was delivered by President Ronald Reagan on June 6, 1984 to honor the original 225 rangers, only 90 of which survived and of whom almost all were in attendance. These soldiers fended off German attackers for two days without reinforcements.


Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance SpeechImage Source

A true master of written words, it was seldom that William Faulkner publicly displayed his talent for spoken word until he gave this speech on December 10, 1950 in Stockholm, Sweden for his contribution to American literature. As both the United States and the Soviet Union raced to develop more advanced nuclear weapons he gave a very scared nation hope with his inspirational speech.


Resignation Speech

Resignation SpeechImage Source

The resignation speech given by George Washington on December 23, 1784 in Annapolis, Maryland at the end of the Revolutionary War supposedly brought tears to the eyes of the members of the Congress and to all the spectators present. As Major General and Commander in Chief, he had the possibility of retaining power but instead chose to do the right thing by tendering his resignation. It was so emotional and Washington trembled so much that he had to hold on to the parchment with both of his hands to keep it steady while delivering the speech.


The Man with the Muck-rake

The Man with the Muck-rakeImage Source

Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man With the Muckrake”; address summed up the social and economic situation of the country on the historic day in 1906, when it was delivered. One of Roosevelt’s most important speeches, it is of inestimable value as a guide to the man and his era.


Address to the Nation on the Challenger

Address to the Nation on the ChallengerImage Source

On January 28, 1986, millions of Americans were glued to their television sets as they watched seven Americans including the first-ever civilian astronaut, the 37-year-old school teacher Christa McAuliffe, lift off aboard the space shuttle Challenger. After just 73 seconds, the shuttle was consumed in a fireball sending everyone watching it into shock in what became as the first death of astronauts in flight. A few hours after the disaster, President Ronald Reagan delivered a speech from Washington, DC honoring the pioneers and providing comfort to the distressed citizens.


The Third Phillippic

The Third PhillippicImage Source

Known as one of the greatest orators of all time, Demosthenes loved his city-state of Athens. However, while Philip II of Macedon became more daring in his incursions in the Greek peninsula, the Athenians were stuck in an apathetic stupor. He then employed his influential oratorical skills to awaken his fellow Athenians. Sick of his brethren’s apathy, he rallied them in 342 BC just as Philip was advancing on Thrace and boldly call them to action. After hearing his inspiring speech, they all cried out “To arms! To arms!”


We Shall Fight on the Beaches

We Shall Fight on the BeachesImage Source

Given at the House of Commons, London on June 4, 1940, it was given by one of the greatest orators of the 20th century despite being born with a speech impediment just like Demosthenes and the other greats before him. With his strong, reassuring voice, Winston Churchill boldly stated the following:

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender


Duties of American Citizenship

Duties of American CitizenshipImage Source

A speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in Buffalo, New York on January 26, 1883, it probed into the theoretical reasons why every citizen must be involved in politics and the practicality of serving in that capacity. People must not excuse themselves from politics just because they are too busy and then blame the government for its ineptitude.


Farewell to Baseball Address

Farewell to Baseball AddressImage Source

The famous speech delivered by Lou Gehrig at the Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 would go on forever as a tribute to his luminous career. Stricken with the crippling disease that now bears his name at a young age of 36, he spoke of things that he was grateful for rather than his declining health at a tribute given him where he was presented with plaques, gifts and trophies for his dedication to his record 2,130 consecutive games.


Surrender Speech

Surrender SpeechImage Source

This speech was given during a dark moment in American history when the military declared that Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe had to move onto a reservation in Idaho or face retribution. Though Chief Joseph tried to avoid violence, some of his tribesmen dissented and killed four white men. To avoid the backlash of the military, they all set out for Canada to find amnesty. They were just a mere 40 miles from the border, however, when they were defeated after a five-day battle. As they were in dire conditions, they had no choice but to surrender and Chief Joseph’s surrender speech on October 5, 1877 has been marked as one of the greatest moments of that period.


Inauguration Address

Inauguration AddressImage Source

Incoming presidents around the world give their inaugural addresses, but there has never been anything more gripping than the one delivered by a very young, ambitious John F. Kennedy. As the 35th president of the United States, he embodied the fresh optimism of a nation that had just risen out of decades of war. As the citizens listened to his inaugural speech, they felt that the nation was headed towards a new frontier.


Speech of Alexander the Great

Speech of Alexander the GreatImage Source

Alexander the Great was known for his great conquests but only a few knew of his oratory prowess. His talent for oration was developed while he was studying under Aristotle and he made used of it at the latter end of his conquests to motivate his men. After lording it over the Persian Empire for 10 years, Alexander decided to continue his conquest into India where they faced defeat against King Porus and his army. His men were weary from ten years of battle and they longed to go home. He then delivered a speech in 326 BC to inspire his men to continue on to fight and win which was just the motivation they needed.

David Pegg


After helping found the United Nations, the United States, and United Airlines, David consigned himself to a transient life of writing lists and sleeping on park benches.

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  • Jennifer

    Is there a spearhead about a clean up group I need it for my hw now!!!!!!!!!!!


    Can you prove it wasn’t ?

  • BS

    Great list until #1. The greatest speech was something that never actually happened? Great job!

    • Joe


    • Nicolas

      Disagree! The Sermon on Mount took place at Mount of Beatitudes.

      When we look at the New Testament we realize that it was written by those who either knew Jesus personally, or were under the direction of those who did. They wrote what they saw. They wrote about the resurrection of Christ. They recorded His miracles and His sayings. It comes down to whether or not you believe what it says about Christ.

      The science of studying ancient literature and its accuracy of transmission to is called historicity. The Bible is so exceedingly accurate in its transmission from the originals to the present copies, that if you compare it to any other ancient writing, the Bible is light years ahead in terms of number of manuscripts and accuracy. If the Bible were to be discredited as being unreliable, then it would be necessary to discard the writings of Homer, Plato, and Aristotle as also unreliable since they are far far less well preserved than the Bible.

      It could be said that the Bible is a book of history — and it is. The Bible describes places, people, and events in various degrees of detail. It is essentially an historical account of the people of God throughout thousands of years. If you open to almost any page in the Bible you will find a name of a place and/or a person. Much of this can be verified from archaeology. Though archaeology cannot prove that the Bible is the inspired word of God, it has the ability to prove whether or not some events and locations described therein are true or false. So far, however, there isn’t a single archaeological discovery that disproves the Bible in any way.

      Nevertheless, many people used to think that the Bible had numerous historical errors in it such as Luke’s account of Lysanias being the tetrarch of Abiline in about 27 AD (Luke 3:1). For years scholars used this “factual error” to prove Luke was wrong because it was common knowledge that Lysanias was not a tetrarch, but the ruler of Chalcis about 50 years earlier than what Luke described. But an archaeological inscription was found that said Lysanias was the tetrarch in Abila near Damascus at the time that Luke said. It turns out that there had been two people name Lysanias and Luke had accurately recorded the facts.

      Also, the walls of Jericho have been found, destroyed just as the Bible says. Many critics doubted that Nazareth ever existed, yet archaeologists have found a first-century synagogue inscription at Caesarea that has verified its existence. Finds have verified the existence of Herod the Great and his son Herod Antipas. The remains of the Apostle Peter’s house have been found at Capernaum. Bones with nail scars through the wrists and feet have been uncovered as well demonstrating the actuality of crucifixion. The High Priest Caiaphas’ bones have been discovered in an ossuary (a box used to store bones).

      There is, of course, a host of archaeological digs that corroborate biblical records on places such as Bethsaida, Bethany, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Cyprus, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, etc.

      Luke wrote his Gospel as “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us . . . just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses.” Luke claims that he had “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” and so wrote “an orderly account . . . so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (see Luke 1:1-4). Did Luke include miracles in his account? Yes, many of them. But they were miracles verified by eyewitnesses. Two thousand years later, a skeptic might call Luke’s account a “myth,” but the burden of proof rests with the skeptic. The account itself is a carefully investigated historical document.

      Unlike mythology, the Bible contains an astounding number of fulfilled prophecies. Myths do not bother with prophecy, but fully one third of the Bible is prophecy. The Bible contains over 1,800 predictions concerning more than 700 separate subjects found in over 8,300 verses. The Old Testament contains more than 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ alone, many with amazing specificity. Numerous prophecies have already been fulfilled, and they have come to pass precisely as foretold. The mathematical odds of someone making this number of predictions and having every one of them come to pass are light-years beyond the realm of human possibility. These miraculous prophecies could only be accomplished with the supernatural guidance of Him who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10).

      Unlike mythology, the Bible has transformed a countless number of lives. Yet many people allow the views of others—who have never seriously studied the Bible—to shape their own opinions. Each of us needs study it for ourselves. Put it to the test. Live by the Bible’s precepts and experience for yourself the dynamic and transforming power of this amazing Book. Apply its teachings on forgiveness and see how it can mend a broken relationship. Apply its principles of stewardship and watch your financial situation improve. Apply its teaching on faith and feel a calming presence in your heart even as you navigate through a difficult trial in your life. The Bible works. There is a reason Christians in various countries around the world risk their lives daily to expose others to the life-giving truth of this remarkable Book.

      Ultimately, many who reject God and His revealed Word do so because of pride. They are so invested in their personal beliefs that they refuse to honestly weigh the evidence. To accept the Bible as true would require them to think seriously about God and their responsibility to Him. To accept the Bible as true might require a change of lifestyle. As Erwin Lutzer stated, “The truth is, few people have an open mind, especially about matters of religion. . . . Thus, perverted doctrines and prejudices are easily perpetuated from one generation to another.”