famous speeches in history

Top 41 Famous Speeches IN HISTORY

Speeches have been empowering people for a very long time. They have uplifted the spirits of people and educated them on various topics. There are some famous speeches in history that are considered as one of the best. 

Why speeches have such a profound effect on people and become timeless?

There are many speeches that do not deserve the title and are delivered ill-prepared. Then there are speeches that have such a profound effect on people.

Speeches help people see their leaders in their true skin, know their ideologies and thoughts. They also reveal the speaker’s qualities that can impact their motive. Speeches have been mainly used to drive people to some action and motivate them.

How can you write/deliver a speech that will survive the test of time and become memorable?

To write/deliver a speech that will survive the test of time, it has to be authentic. If you reveal a part of your life, you can capture their hearts. If your audience can relate to your speech, then they will be even more interested. 

The speaker can use logic and emotion to move people. Any speaker has to start strong and maintain it throughout the course of the speech. First impressions matter, and making a good impression on the audience keeps them hooked on you.

Depending on the type of speech that you are about to deliver, you need to learn the right skills to deliver it effectively. Here’s a series of 14 types of speech and tips on how to nail each and every one of them.

Speeches have shaped every history in many regions across the globe. Back in 1999, a survey of infamous public speaking and political scholars to rank various political speeches. Let’s have a look at the best speeches in history.

Top 41 Famous Speeches in History by Continent

famous speeches in history

10 Speeches from American History

1.  “The Man with the Muck-Rake” – Theodore Roosevelt 

Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech back on April 14, 1906, in Washington, D.C, when he was the president of the United States. Here is a worthy excerpt from his speech.

“The fool who has no sense to discriminate between what is good and what is bad is well nigh as dangerous as the man who does discriminate and yet chooses the bad. There is nothing more distressing to every good patriot, to every good American than the hard, scoffing spirit which treats the allegation of dishonesty in a public man as a cause for laughter.”

You can read the whole speech here.

2.  “First Inaugural Address” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had beat Herbert Hover in the 1932 presidential election. During that time, America was under the Great Depression. The people had a feeling that their president did not relate to them. Here’s an excerpt from the great speech.

“ This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves, which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

You can read the complete speech here.

3.  “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” – Patrick Henry

March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia. Contrary to those who wanted to wait out/avoid conflict with the massive army marching their way, Henry presented a proposal to organize a volunteer company of cavalry or infantry in every Virginia county. 

Henry’s words were not transcribed, but no one who heard them forgot their eloquence, or Henry’s closing words: “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

“…There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable²and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Click hereto read the entire speech.

4.  “Farewell Address to Congress” – General Douglas MacArthur

President Truman and the General had some clashes during the Korean war, which led to the President relieving the general of his command. The general had served 52 years and for three wars. Here is the speech he gave as he was exiting.

“I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that “old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.

Good Bye.”

You can read the whole speech here.

5.  “Strength and Decency” – Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt was concerned about the state of the upcoming youth. He wanted them to not be cowardly and grow up to be rugged and tough throughout their life. Here’s an excerpt from the speech for the youth.

It is peculiarly incumbent upon you who have the strength to set the right example to others. I ask you to remember that you cannot retain your self-respect if you are loose and foul of tongue, that a man who is to lead a clean and honorable life must inevitably suffer if his speech likewise is not clean and honorable. Every man here knows the temptations that beset all of us in this world. At times any man will slip. I do not expect perfection, but I do expect genuine and sincere effort toward being decent and cleanly in thought, in word, and in deed.

Click here to read the whole speech.

6.  “2nd Inaugural Address” – Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln’s second term in the United States began when the Union’s victory was only a month away. He was against slavery throughout his life, and he worked to abolish it. Here is the worthy excerpt from his speech – 

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Click here to read the speech.

7.  “The Decision to Go to the Moon” John F. Kennedy

After Soviet Union launched the first man into space, Kennedy got the approval of NASA and the politicians to send a person onto the moon. Here is an excerpt from the speech he gave –

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

8.  “First Inaugural Speech” George Washington

On April 30, 1789, George Washington gave his first inaugural speech as the first president of the United States. Here is an excerpt from the first inaugural speech.

“To the foregoing observations, I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House of Representatives. It concerns myself, and will, therefore, be as brief as possible. When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation.”

9.  “Duty, Honour, Country” – General Douglas MacArthur

After serving for 52 years and three wars Douglas received the Sylvanus Thayer Award in West Point. This speech was dedicated to all the ones who served and here is a worthy excerpt from his speech. 

“The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone, and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams, I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.

Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.”

Click here to read the speech.  

10.  “Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The attack on Pearl Harbor shocked the nation. President Franklin addressed the nation and declared war on Japan. Here is the excerpt from the war speech.

“Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: yesterday, December 7, 1941-a date which will live in infamy-the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…..

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces-with, the unbounding determination of our people-we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God.”

10 speeches from African-Descent History

1.  “I Have a Dream” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. gave this speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

“But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”


You can read the complete speech here

2.  “Ain’t I a Woman” – Sojourner Truth

This speech is Frances Gage’s account of Sojourner at the Woman Right’s Convention Ohio.

“Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man when I could get it, and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman?

I have borne thirteen children and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold, but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?”

You can read the complete speech here

3.  “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This is the final speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave.

As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” — I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there. I would move on by Greece and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides, and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.”

You can read the complete speech here.

4.  “2004 Keynote Speech” – Barack Obama

As a candidate for the presidential election, Barack Obama delivered a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention Boston.

“On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, Land of Lincoln, let me express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British. But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance, my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.”

You can read the complete speech here.

5.  “Atlanta Compromise” – Booker T. Washington

This is considered as one of the most influential speeches in history.

“One-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race. No enterprise seeking the material, civil, or moral welfare of this section can disregard this element of our population and reach the highest success. I but convey to you, Mr. President and Directors, the sentiment of the masses of my race when I say that in no way have the value and manhood of the American Negro been more fittingly and generously recognized than by the managers of this magnificent Exposition at every stage of its progress. It is a recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom.”

You can read the complete speech here.

6.  “Who Then Will Speak for the Common Good?” – Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan was the first woman and first African American to give the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“Now what are these beliefs? First, we believe in equality for all and privileges for none. This is a belief that each American, regardless of background, has equal standing in the public forum, all of us. Because we believe this idea so firmly, we are inclusive rather than an exclusive party. Let everybody come. I think it is no accident that most of those emigrating to America in the 19th century identified with the Democratic Party. We are a heterogeneous party made up of Americans of diverse backgrounds.”

You can read the complete speech here.

7.  “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” – Fredrick Douglas

“But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. ÑThe rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

You can read the complete speech here.

8.  “Lynching Our National Crime” – Ida B. Wells

“The lynching record for a quarter of a century merits the thoughtful study of the American people. It presents three salient facts: First, lynching is color-line murder. Second, crimes against women is the excuse, not the cause. Third, it is a national crime and requires a national remedy. Proof that lynching follows the color line is to be found in the statistics which have been kept for the past 25 years. During the few years preceding this period and while frontier law existed, the executions showed a majority of white victims. Later, however, as law courts and authorized judiciary extended into the far 

West, lynch law rapidly abated, and its white victims became few and far between. Just as the lynch-law regime came to a close in the West, a new mob movement started in the South.”

You can read the complete speech here.

9.  Barack Obama—“A More Perfect Union” (2008)

“This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this presidential campaign—to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring, and more prosperous America. I chose to run for president at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together, unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same, and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction—toward a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”

You can read the complete speech here.

10.   Marcus Garvey—“The Principles of The Universal Negro Improvement Association” (1922)

“We represent a new line of thought among Negroes. Whether you call it advanced thought or reactionary thought, I do not care. If it is reactionary for people to seek independence in government, then we are reactionary. If it is advanced thought for people to seek liberty and freedom, then we represent the advanced school of thought among the Negroes of this country. We of the UNIA believe that what is good for the other folks is good for us. If government is something that is worthwhile; if government is something that is appreciable and helpful and protective to others, then we also want to experiment in government.”

You can read the complete speech from here.

10 Speeches from Asian History

famous speeches in history

1.  “Speech of Alexander the Great”

“I could not have blamed you for being the first to lose heart if I, your commander, had not shared in your exhausting marches and your perilous campaigns; it would have been natural enough if you had done all the work merely for others to reap the reward. But it is not so. You and I, gentlemen, have shared the labour and shared the danger, and the rewards are for us all. The conquered territory belongs to you; from your ranks the governors of it are chosen; already the greater part of its treasure passes into your hands, and when all Asia is overrun, then indeed I will go further than the mere satisfaction of our ambitions: the utmost hopes of riches or power which each one of you cherishes will be far surpassed, and whoever wishes to return home will be allowed to go, either with me or without me. I will make those who stay the envy of those who return.”

2.  “Quit India” – Mahatma Gandhi

“I believe that in the history of the world, there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours. I read Carlyle’s French Resolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence, they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.”

You can read the complete speech here.

3.  “Round Table Conference Speech” – Mahatma Gandhi

“I dare to say, it (the strife between Hindus and Muslims in India) is coeval with the British Advent, and immediately this relationship, the unfortunate, artificial, unnatural relationship between Great Britain and India is transformed into a natural relationship, when it becomes, if it does become, a voluntary partnership to be given up, to be dissolved at the will of either party, when it becomes that you will find that Hindus, Mussalmans, Sikhs, Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Christians, Untouchable, will all live together as one man.”

4.  “Crisis of Civilization” – Rabindranath Tagore

“As I look around I see the crumbling ruins of a proud civilization strewn like a vast heap of futility. And yet I shall not commit the grievous sin of losing faith in Man. I would rather look forward to the opening of a new chapter in his history after the cataclysm is over and the atmosphere rendered clean with the spirit of service and sacrifice. Perhaps that dawn will come from this horizon, from the East where the sun rises. A day will come when unvanquished Man will retrace his path of conquest, despite all barriers, to win back his lost human heritage.”

You can read the complete speech here.

5.  “Tryst with Destiny” – Jawaharlal Nehru

“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.”

You can read the complete speech here.

6.  “United Nations Longest Speech” – V.K. Krishna Menon

“Why is that we have never heard voices in connection with the freedom of people under the suppression and tyranny of Pakistani authorities on the other side of the cease-fire line? Why is it that we have not heard here that in ten years these people have not seen a ballot paper? With what voice can either the Security Council or anyone coming before it demand a plebiscite for a people on our side who exercise franchise, who have freedom of speech, who function under a hundred local bodies?”

7.  “Go Kiss the World” – Subroto Bagchi

“Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US, where I was serving my second stint to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually, I had to return to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said,

“Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world.” ”

8.  “Allahabad Address” – Muhammad Iqbal

“India is a continent of human groups belonging to different races, speaking different languages, and professing different religions […] Personally, I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh, and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.”

You can read the complete speech here.

9.  “4th Draft of Constitution Speech ” – Muhammad Ali

“The urge to develop our culture, to realize our potentialities to the utmost, to find an atmosphere in which the spirit of Islam can flourish, that urge is there in the nation today. It has been the reason for its existence, and it remains the driving force of the people of Pakistan. That freedom and that urge we mist safeguard; we can ignore it only at our peril. No man of honour repudiates his parentage. Every tree springs from its seed; it grows, and it flowers. It may stay as a small seed but, over a period of years, it shoots out branches, it bears fruit and people recognize its worth. We, Sir, shall be in that process for many years before the true spirit of Islamic culture finds fruition here. The freedom which the Muslims of Pakistan wanted for themselves, they do not want to deny to other communities living in Pakistan. It is an essential part of our faith that the non-Muslims living here should be equally free to develop their culture; to practise and propagate their religion; should be equal and honoured citizens of Pakistan. It is on these basic concepts that the whole structure of Pakistan should be built.”

You can read the complete speech here.

10.                “This Time the Struggle Is for Our Freedom” – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

“Today, I appeared before you with a heavy heart. You know everything and understand as well. We tried with our lives. But the painful matter is that today, in Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna, Rajshahi, and Rangpur, the streets are dyed red with the blood of our brethren. Today the people of Bengal want freedom, the people of Bengal want to survive, the people of Bengal want to have their rights. What wrong did we do?”

You can read the complete speech here.

10 Speeches from European History

famous speeches in history

1.  “The Third Philippic” – Demosthenes

“It is this fate, I solemnly assure you, that I dread for you when the time comes that you make your reckoning, and realize that there is no longer anything that can be done. May you never find yourselves, men of Athens, in such a position! Yet in any case, it were better to die ten thousand deaths than to do anything out of servility towards Philip [or to sacrifice any of those who speak for your good]. A noble recompense did the people in Oreus receive, for entrusting themselves to Philip’s friends, and thrusting Euphraeus aside! And a noble recompense the democracy of Eretria, for driving away your envoys, and surrendering to Cleitarchus! They are slaves, scourged, and butchered! A noble clemency did he show to the Olynthians, who elected Lasthenes to command the cavalry, and banished Apollonides! It is folly, and it is cowardice, to cherish hopes like these, to give way to evil counsels, to refuse to do anything that you should do, to listen to the advocates of the enemy’s cause, and to fancy that you dwell in so great a city that, whatever happens, you will not suffer any harm.”

You can read the speech here.

2.  “Abolition Speech” – William Wilberforce

“When I consider the magnitude of the subject which I am to bring before the House-a subject, in which the interests, not of this country, nor of Europe alone, but of the whole world, and of posterity, are involved: and when I think, at the same time, on the weakness of the advocate who has undertaken this great cause-when these reflections press upon my mind, it is impossible for me not to feel both terrified and concerned at my own inadequacy to such a task. ”

You can read the speech here.

3.  “The Appeal of 18th June” – Charles de Gaulle 

“But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!

Believe me, I who am speaking to you with full knowledge of the facts, and who tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us victory one day. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of the United States.”

You can read the speech here.

4.  “Apology” – Socrates

“Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that to do as you say would be a disobedience to the God, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say again that daily to discourse about virtue, and of those other things about which you hear me examining myself and others, is the greatest good of man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you are still less likely to believe me.”

5.  “The Finest Hour” – Winston Churchill

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

            You can read the speech here.

6.  “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech” – William Faulkner

“I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

7.  “The First Oration Against Catiline” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

“I wish, O conscript fathers, to be merciful; I wish not to appear negligent amid such danger to the state, but I do now accuse myself of remissness and culpable inactivity. A camp is pitched in Italy, at the entrance of Etruria, in hostility to the republic; the number of the enemy increases every day; and yet the general of that camp, the leader of those enemies, we see within the walls-aye, and even in the senate-planning every day some internal injury to the republic. If, O Catiline, I should now order you to be arrested, to be put to death, I should, I suppose, have to fear lest all good men should say that I had acted tardily, rather than that anyone should affirm that I acted cruelly.”

You can read the speech here.

8.  “Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate” Ronald Reagan

“We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

You can read the speech here.

9.  “Funeral Oration” – Pericles

“So died these men as became Athenians. You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defense of your country, though these would furnish a valuable text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to them as the present, you must yourselves realize the power of Athens, and feed your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts; and then, when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honor in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valor, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer.”

            You can read the speech here.

10.      Tilbury Speech – Queen Elizabeth I

We learn from that the Spanish Armada was invading England and the Queen was invited to Tilbury to rally the troops on 9 August 1588. That is where she made one of the most amazing speeches in History.

“My loving people,

We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery. But I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people.

Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm: to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you on a word of a prince, they shall be duly paid. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.”



“Let us Unite” – Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator Movie Speech)

“To those who can hear me I say: do not despair! The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass. And dictators die. And the power they took from the people, will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

“Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes! Men who despise you and enslave you! Who regiment your lines and tell you what to do, what to think, what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men! Machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate. Only the unloved hate. The unloved and the unnatural.

“Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty! In the 17th chapter of St Luke it is written, the kingdom of God is within man. Not one man, nor a group of men but in all men. In you! You the people have the power! The power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful! To make this life a wonderful adventure! Then in the name of democracy let us use that power! Let us all unite!”

You can listen to the speech here.


There are tons of amazing speeches out there, some that I never heard of, and that I might just love more than the ones that are now listed here. I will be updating the list as I find more and more interesting pieces of material.












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