A Brief History
On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) delivered perhaps his greatest speech, known as the “Four Freedoms Speech.” FDR is but one of many famous orators that have delivered great speeches, and today we list a few of those famous talks, asking you to tell us which of these or others you believe is the greatest speech of all time.
- Pericles, Funeral Oration, 431 BC
- Socrates, “Apology,” 399 BC
- Marc Antony, eulogy of Julius Caesar, 44 BC
- Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” 1775
- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863
- Winston Churchill, “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” and “We shall fight on the beaches…,” 1940
- Franklin Roosevelt, “Nothing to fear, but fear itself,” 1933 and Four Freedoms, 1941
- Douglas MacArthur, Farewell Address, 1951 and “Duty, Honor, Country,” 1962
- John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, 1961
- Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream,” 1963
Question for students (and subscribers): What do you believe is the greatest speech of all time? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Blaisdell, Bob. Great Speeches of the 20th Century (Dover Thrift Editions). Dover Publications, 2011.
Safire, William. Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History (Updated and Expanded Edition). W. W. Norton & Company, 2004.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.