Throughout the course of history there have been many famous speeches that changed the world. 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.
The resignation speech delivered 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
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
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 known as the first death of astronauts in flight. A few hours after the disaster, President Ronald Reagan delivered a comforting speech from Washington, DC honoring the pioneers and providing comfort to the distressed citizens.
The Third Phillippic
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 called them to action. After hearing his inspiring speech, they all cried out “To arms! To arms!”
We Shall Fight on the Beaches
Given at the House of Commons, London on June 4, 1940, this famous speech 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