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Speeches and Essays

Every politican hopes that her words resonate long after her tenure in office. These links explore speeches and easays that have made that kind of impact on the American consciousness.
  1. 2008 Election (8)
  2. GW Bush (9)
  3. Quotes (6)
  4. The Inaugural Address (3)

Why Rand Paul's Filibuster Was Such a Big Deal
Find out how long Rand Paul's filibuster was in 2013. Learn more about why Paul participated in the filibuster. See how his Senate colleagues reacted to the filibuster.

State of the Union Guests
Find out why presidents invite State of the Union guests. Read about some of the most famous State of the Union guests. Learn more about the origins of the modern political tradition.

President Barack Obama State Of The Union Address
Text of President Barack Obama speech before joint session of Congress on 24 January 2009.

I Have A Dream, 28 August 1963
Text of Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, I Have A Dream, the closing speech of the March on Washington, DC, on 28 August 1963. The speech was carried live on network television.

Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861
Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address, 4 March 1861, Washington, D.C.

John F. Kennedy At The Greater Houston Ministerial Association
Transcript of John F. Kennedy's speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, 12 September 1960. Includes links to audio of the full speech and a short video excerpt on YouTube.

Lyndon B. Johnson - We Shall Overcome - Speech Text - 15 March 1965
On 15 March 15 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed Congress, calling for passage of the voting rights act. The speech cam one week after a gathering in Selma, AL led to deadly violence when African-Americans preparing to march to Montgomery were attacked by police. A white Unitarian Minister from Boston, James J. Reeb, was killed.

President Eisenhower On The Military-Industrial Complex
In his farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American public of the dangers of the military-industrial complex.

State of the Union Addresses - 1945 - 2006
Transcripts and videos of State of the Union speeches from 1945 (Truman) to 2006 (Bush). From C-Span.

Chisholm, S. - Equal Rights for Women - May 21, 1969
In this address to the House of Representatives, Shirley Chisholm (New York) -- the first African-American woman elected to the House -- introduces the Equal Rights Amendment. The text is provided by Sweet Briar College, a Virginia all-women's college.

Kennedy, J.F. - Inaugural Address - January 20, 1961
Hear J.F. Kennedy deliver the line: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." The History Channel provides a Real Audio file.

King, M.L. - I Have a Dream - August 28, 1963
On a hot August day in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King spoke these words to more than 200,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. American Rhetoric brings the speech to life via Real Audio.

Lincoln, A. - Gettysburg Address - November 19, 1863
This Library of Congress exhibit includes the full text of the speech, delivered by Lincoln at the dedication of the military cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where more than 45,000 had died in July during the Civil War. Few political speechs are as well known as this one.

Mill, John Stuart - On Liberty - 1859
A timeless essay on the relationship between the individual and society by John Stuart Mill (1806–73), British philosopher and economist. Composed with his wife, Harriet Taylor. From Mill: "The subject of this Essay is ... Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.”

Nixon, R.M. - Checkers Speech - September 23, 1952
Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Richard M. Nixon appeared on national TV to defend himself of charges that he kept a secret fund to underwrite political expenses. The History Channel brings the words to life via Real Audio.

Roosevelt, F.D. - Inaugural Address - March 4, 1933
This was FDR's first inaugural speech, famous for the phrase "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Read the text.

Smith, M.K. - Denounces McCarthy - May 31, 1950
Sen. Margaret K. Smith (Maine) was the first member of the Republican party to publicly condemn Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Wisconsin). The History Channel provides a Real Audio file.

State of the State - 2006 Gubernatorial Speeches
Stateline.org is archiving news coverage of governors 2006 State of the State addresses in this special issue section of the site.

10 Most Famous Political Quotes of All Time
These are the most famous political quotes in American history.

When is the State of the Union Address Delivered?
See what the Constitution says about when the president must deliver the State of the Union address.

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