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Old 08-31-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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It's fine to cite and discuss the obvious choices, but how about being a bit of a showoff by producing lesser known but equally momentous examples of profound oratory.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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Ich bin ein Berliner.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Arizona High Desert
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Michael Parenti got my attention more than a few times, but most people have never heard him.

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:...&ct=clnk&gl=us

Last edited by Peggy Anne; 08-31-2009 at 12:33 PM..
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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While perhaps an obvious choice, a speech given by a foreigner comes to mind---Winston Churchill's "we will never surrender" speech--did a remarkable job of swaying American opinion toward supporting Britain instead of remaining neutral.
Don't rememeber where I heard it, but one of his aides supposedly said it was a speech written just as much for the Americans as the British.

Perhaps one that had a looong impact on American politics was Washington's speech admonishing against "foreign entanglements"...one we held to for over 100 years of our history.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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A few others I have thought of...T. Roosevelt's "Muckraker" speech...
Nixon's "Checkers" speech...
Ford's pardon of Nixon speech...
LBJ's not seeking re-election speech...
William Lloyd Garrison's speech upon John Brown's death...(calling for an end to slavery in the name of freedom).
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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Some of the shortest and most profound speeches have been made by Native Americans. They are rich with metaphors and feeling:


My people are few. They resemble the scattering of trees of a storm-swept plain .... There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea covers its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now a mournful memory.
-- Chief Seattle on surrendering tribal lands on the site of Seattle to the governor of Washington Territory (1855).

Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds and the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?
-- Tecumseh

...Hear me my chiefs. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.
-- Chief Joesph, speaking to the Nez Perce tribe after surrender to General Nelson A. Miles
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
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Ted Kennedy Eulogy of RFK (heartfelt)
RFK impromptu speech on death of MLK (courageous)
Gettysburg address (so darn compact)
MLK I ahev a Dream (I know, heavily borrowed speech, yet still transformed)
Gore concession speech of 2001. Mindblowing in its eloquence--left me wondering, who is this guy and hat did he do with Al Gore. Gore 2000, the worst managed election in history.
I nnow, boring choices, but I am bushed...
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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Here is part of a short note that Edward Everett, known for his long speeches, sent to President Lincoln after they had both spoken at Gettysburg:

"I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Of course, Lincoln sent a gracious reply.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:14 PM
 
Location: the Beaver State
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Lincoln's second inaugural address, which led directly to his death.

Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural speech is pretty good too, although apparently he mumbled it pretty badly and few people actually heard it. Luckily copies had been printed up and circulated through the crowd. It was also the first Presidential speech held in Washington D.C.

Teddy Roosevelt's True Americanism speech is fairly good, but maybe hard to understand out of context. Speeches of Theodore Roosevelt : True Americanism (1894)

I second both Chief Seattle and Chief Joseph. Both are very powerful speeches.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Eisenhower's 1961 speech warning of the military-industrial complex:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
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