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American Speeches

Political Oratory from Patrick Henry to Barack Obama

Introduced by Ted Widmer
ISBN: 978-1-59853-094-0
432 pp. / $12.95
Printed on high-quality acid-free paper

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American Speeches gives a comprehensive view of the arguments, passions, and philosophies that have shaped America. These speeches are part of our national heritage. They should be studied and celebrated.” –President Bill Clinton

From the American Revolution to the present day, public oratory has profoundly shaped American history and culture—not only our politics but our language and our sense of national identity. Edited by historian and former presidential speechwriter Ted Widmer, American Speeches presents the complete texts of forty-seven of the greatest speeches in American history: from Patrick Henry’s address before the Virginia Convention in 1775 (“give me liberty, or give me death!”) to “A More Perfect Union,” Barack Obama’s profound meditation on race from the 2008 presidential campaign. Classic speeches like Sojourner Truth’s stirring declamation to the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention, Abraham Lincoln’s masterpiece at Gettysburg, John F. Kennedy’s still-inspiring inaugural address, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s prophetic “I Have a Dream” speech, and Ronald Reagan’s clarion call at the Brandenburg Gate come together to form a dynamic portrait of our ongoing struggle to define and to realize the possibilities of the American experiment.

Ted Widmer, editor, is the Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and the author of Martin Van Buren in The American Presidents Series and of Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City. He was director of speechwriting at the National Security Council and a senior advisor to President Clinton from 1997 to 2001.

Contents:

Patrick Henry: Speech in the Virginia Convention
George Washington: Speech to Officers of the Continental Army
Benjamin Franklin: Speech at the Conclusion of the Constitutional Convention
Henry Lee: Eulogy on George Washington
Thomas Jefferson: First Inaugural Address
Daniel Webster: Address at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument
Angelina Grimké Weld: Antislavery Speech at Pennsylvania Hall
Sojourner Truth: Speech to Woman’s Rights Convention
Frederick Douglass: What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?
Abraham Lincoln: “House Divided” Speech
John Brown: Speech to the Court
Abraham Lincoln: Address at Cooper Institute
Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address
Abraham Lincoln: Address at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address
Robert Brown Elliott: Speech in Congress on the Civil Rights Bill
Chief Joseph: Reply to General Howard
Grover Cleveland: Address at the Dedication of the Statue of Liberty
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Solitude of Self
Ida B. Wells: Lynch Law in All Its Phases
William Jennings Bryan: Speech to the Democratic National Convention
Theodore Roosevelt: The Strenuous Life
Woodrow Wilson: Address to Congress on War with Germany
Franklin D. Roosevelt: First Inaugural Address
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Address to Congress on War with Japan
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Fireside Chat on Progress of the War
George S. Patton: Speech to Third Army Troops
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Address to the Allied Expeditionary Forces
William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Address
John F. Kennedy: Speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Farewell Address
John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address
John F. Kennedy: Address at American University
John F. Kennedy: Speech in the Rudolph Wilde Platz
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Address to the March on Washington
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nobel Prize Address
Lyndon B. Johnson: Address to Congress on Voting Rights
Robert F. Kennedy: Address at the University of Cape Town
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Speech at Mason Temple
Robert F. Kennedy: Remarks on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Barbara Jordan: Statement to the House Judiciary Committee
Ronald Reagan: Address to Members of Parliament
Ronald Reagan: Address to the Nation on the Challenger Disaster
Ronald Reagan: Speech at the Brandenburg Gate
William J. Clinton: Speech at Mason Temple
George W. Bush: Remarks at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance Service
Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union

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