The 35 Greatest Speeches Ever

Well, some at least would make every historian’s greatest hits list and all are, by any objective standard, excellent examples of oratory. A lost art.

They are from the highly enjoyable The Art of Manliness site, recommended a while back by stalwart blogfriend and sometimes collaborator, Historyguy99.

The 35 Greatest Speeches in History – Brett and Kate McKay

The Art of Manliness thus proudly presents the “35 Greatest Speeches in World History,” the finest library of speeches available on the web.

These speeches lifted hearts in dark times, gave hope in despair, refined the characters of men, inspired brave feats, gave courage to the weary, honored the dead, and changed the course of history. It is my desire that this library will become a lasting resource not only to those who wish to become great orators, but to all men who wisely seek out the great mentors of history as guides on the path to virtuous manhood.

I know that readers of blogs are often more likely to skim than to read in-depth. But I challenge you, gentlemen, to attempt a program of study in which you read the entirety of one of these great speeches each and every day. I found the process of compiling and reading these speeches to be enormously inspiring and edifying, and I feel confident that you will find them equally so.

How did we compile this list?

Great oratory has three components: style, substance, and impact.

Style: A great speech must be masterfully constructed. The best orators are masters of both the written and spoken word, and use words to create texts that are beautiful to both hear and read.

Substance: A speech may be flowery and charismatically presented, and yet lack any true substance at all. Great oratory must center on a worthy theme; it must appeal to and inspire the audience’s finest values and ideals.

Impact: Great oratory always seeks to persuade the audience of some fact or idea. The very best speeches change hearts and minds and seem as revelatory several decades or centuries removed as when they were first given.

Read, listen and/or view the 35 greatest speeches here.

A special bonus, How to Run a Meeting. By God, I wish I could make this mandatory…….

ADDENDUM:

Blogfriend and cybersecurity guru Gunnar Peterson points us to 100 Incredible Lectures from the World’s Top Scientists . Nice!

Share

3 comments on this post.
  1. Dave Schuler:

    Tomorrow morning I’ll post my proposed additions to the list of greatest speeches.

  2. Schmedlap:

    Listmania!

    It’s not quite a list, but on my last deployment I listened to a Teaching Company course called "Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition." It hit on the 60 or so "biggest thinkers" and, for some topics that were tough to pin down onto one person, the "biggest ideas."

    On a less serious note, the number 2 list on my "Top Ten Lists" List was Peter’s Evil Overlord List.

  3. The Greatest Speeches:

    […] my friend, Mark Safranski, I’d like to draw your attention to an intriguing post at the blog, The Art of Manliness, on […]