Famous Speeches That Helped Shape Our Nation

famous speeches

Public speaking has been a powerful way to inspire, motivate and bring light to issues that affect many individuals. Throughout history there have been a number of famous speeches that have not only distinctly reassured the nation’s population during hard times- but also gave them hope and a voice. These famous speeches gave the country faith during times of war and depression, brought about changes that shaped the United States to what it would become and pressed for all the people of the country to be treated equally, justly and as persons.


March 23, 1775. Patrick Henry, Richmond VA,  “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death”

Given just after the Boston Tea Party, this famous speech by Patrick Henry addressed the Virginia governing body. With pure conviction, that greatly changed the nation in the years to come, he was speaking of Virginia’s stance within the colonies and urging the body to join in the fight for independence. Virginia ended up playing a significant part in the American Revolution where the colonies were victorious and resulted in the Birth of the United States of America.


August 23, 1963. Washington D.C Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream”

As one of the most commonly quoted famous speeches, Martin Luther King Jr’s speech on equality is credited for moving the nation to a more peaceful acceptance of all Americans- despite race, gender or nationality. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stressed the importance of peaceful demonstration and a plea to end the violence in all communities across the nation. His speech was given with such calm and precise articulation that all Americans could relate to it.


March 4, 1933. Franklin D. Roosevelt. First Inaugural Address

President Roosevelt gave a compelling speech with his First Inaugural Address to the nation. It was a year where the country was trying to recover from the effects of the great Depression. It was an honest, blunt and hopeful speech that many Americans at the time needed to hear. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”. 


January 20, 1961. John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Inauguration Address

John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration speech is famously known for his statement “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” With a clear vision Kennedy became appointed president, seeking to change the way the country was run. He pushed for more government involvement that had a lasting effect on the country for many years to come.

1873, Susan B Anthony. On Women’s Rights To Vote

Susan B. Anthony is known for being the leading person to push for women’s right to vote. Her famous speech on Women’s rights to vote came after her arrest for participating in an election in 1872. Her speech not only pressed for women’s rights, but also for African Americans to be viewed as persons in the United States of America-who should also have the right to vote. Her speech helped pave the way for women’s right activists and eventually led to women being able to vote in 1920.



These speeches had such a powerful message and were delivered with such conviction that they moved a nation. Each speech had a clear message and was given with a distinct tone and voice. Many individuals felt the effect of the words spoken even if the issues had no direct affect on them.  

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