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.
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Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
One of the most famous speeches in recent history, this was delivered by Patrick Henry in Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775. Henry had always been in the center of the brewing revolutionary sentiments in Virginia, but was particularly embroiled in the Stamp Act of 1764. He delivered his alleged “treason speech” for the Virginians to ban the act. As the tensions between the colonies and the Crown escalated with Massachusetts patriots preparing for war, he also persuaded his fellow Virginians to strengthen their defenses with this famous line, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Citizenship in a Republic
Theodore Roosevelt was at the end of his term and to give his successor, President Taft, time to adjust to the position, he traveled to Africa and Europe. In Paris, France, he was invited to speak at the University of Paris where he delivered this famous speech on April 23, 1910. This powerful address delved on the requirements of citizenship and how democratic countries like the United States and France can stay tough and forceful amidst the fascist ideals of other nations. It was made famous by the “man in the arena” quote.
I Have a Dream
A speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963 in Washington DC, it is also considered one of the greatest speeches in American history. A century after the Gettysburg Address and the emancipation proclamation, the promise of full equality was not yet fulfilled. Black Americans still experienced racial discrimination, but amidst all these, the voice of Dr. King sent out a message of hope.
The Gettysburg Address
Delivered on November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania by former US President Abraham Lincoln, this was considered one of the greatest speeches in the history of American rhetoric. One of the three founding documents of American freedom along with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, it was made up of 272 words and was 3 minutes long. After the Battle of Gettysburg where 8,000 soldiers died and were buried in shallow graves, the community decided to build a cemetery for them. In the inauguration of the cemetery, Lincoln was asked to deliver a short speech as a causal afterthought and he penned this on the back of an envelope on the train, but the product of pure inspiration has resounded even into the future generation.
Sermon on the Mount
Given by Jesus Christ in 33 AD, believers and non-believers alike often consider the Sermon on the Mount to be one of the most famous inspirational speeches ever given. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a more quoted, discussed, or revered piece of oration in all of history.