What makes a great speech, and what makes a great speech memorable? Study some of the most influential speeches in history and learn how they changed the world.
'Day of Infamy' Speech
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
The day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR delivered this speech to the nation.
JFK's 'Race to Space' Speech
President John F. Kennedy
In 1961, the prospect of being the first nation to land on the moon was central to American exceptionalism.
FDR's First Inaugural Address
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
With the nation in the grips of the Great Depression, our 32nd President announces "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling
President Barack Obama
The President responds to the "not guilty" verdict of the Trayvon Martin murder case.
Ronald Reagan on the Challenger Disaster
President Ronald Reagan
The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff.
Duty, Honor, Country Address at West Point
General Douglas MacArthur
The decorated Gen. MacArthur tells cadets they will deal with considerable challenges.
Marshall Plan Speech
George Catlett Marshall
A speech outlining the plan to rebuild Europe after the devastation of WWII
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech
The famous revolutionary speech that incited Virginia to organize a militia against British tyranny
We Shall Overcome Speech
President Lyndon B. Johnson
This rousing speech, delivered just after "Bloody Sunday," led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Steve Jobs' Stanford University Commencement Speech
The late Steve Jobs discusses the challenges that ultimately shaped him into a successful entrepreneur.
Andrew Jackson's Speech to Congress on 'Indian Removal'
President Andrew Jackson
The president announces the "benevolent" initiative to remove Native Americans from their homelands.
'Shut the Door' Speech
Senator Ellison DuRant Smith
During a 1924 congressional debate on immigration, a senator from South Carolina argued that we should "shut the door and breed up a pure, unadulterated American citizen."
Every Man a King
Huey P. Long
At the height of the Great Depression, Huey P. Long, a Louisiana senator, delivered this famous speech in which he denounced the rich and argued to "scale down the big fortunes."
Address to Congress on Women's Suffrage
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt argues in favor of granting women the right to vote.
Testimony Before the Senate Hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment
In her speech advocating in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, feminist Gloria Steinem seeks to dispel myths about women.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The famous ex-slave and abolitionist points out the hypocrisy of "the home of the free" on Independence Day.
Conservation as a National Duty
President Theodore Roosevelt
Roosevelt argues that we have a moral imperative to conserve our diminishing supply of natural resources.
From 'A Time for Choosing' Speech
In this famous speech, Reagan argues for "the maximum of individual freedom."
Speech on Slavery
Lincoln makes a case for free labor over "the great curse" of slavery.