Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History

BOOK: Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History
7.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Lend Me Your Ears
Great Speeches in History

selected and introduced by
William Safire


Lend Me Your Ears
Copyright © 1992, 1997, 2004, 2014 by William Safire
Cover art, special contents, and Electronic Edition © 2014 by RosettaBooks LLC

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.

Cover jacket design by David Ter-Avanesyan/Ter33Design
ISBN Mobipocket edition: 9780795336607

first White House speechwriter
(Harding and Coolidge administrations), and members of the Judson Welliver Society, the association of former White House speechwriters



An Introductory Address

I. Memorials and Patriotic Speeches

Pericles Extols the Glory That Is Greece at the Funeral of Its Fallen Sons

Roman Empress Theodora Refuses to Flee

Founding Father Gouverneur Morris Defines National Greatness

Daniel Webster Speaks at the Dedication of the Bunker Hill Monument

Lecturer Frances Wright Speaks on Independence Day

Lincoln Rededicates the Union at Gettysburg

Mark Twain Celebrates the Fourth of July

President Calvin Coolidge Affirms His Faith in Massachusetts

Interior Secretary Harold Ickes Lashes Isolationists and Defeatists

Judge Learned Hand Evokes the Spirit of Liberty

Underground Fighter Menachem Begin Pledges His Group’s Allegiance to the Newborn State of Israel

Democratic Candidate Adlai Stevenson Defines the Nature of Patriotism

General Douglas MacArthur Reminds West Point Cadets of Duty, Honor, Country

II. War and Revolution Speeches

Catiline the Conspirator Turns and Fights

Pope Urban II Launches the First Crusade

Queen Elizabeth Inveighs against the Spanish Armada

Patrick Henry Ignites the American Revolution

An Indian Chief Pledges Help

General Washington Talks His Officers Out of Insurrection

Richard Price, an English Cleric, Hails the Revolutions

Revolutionist Georges-Jacques Danton Demands Death for the Squeamish

Napoleon Exhorts His Troops against France’s Enemies

Garibaldi Prepares Italy’s Guerrillas for Battle

Jefferson Davis Takes His Leave of the U.S. Senate

Chief Joseph Surrenders

President Woodrow Wilson Presents an Ideal to the War Congress

Lenin Defends Proletarian Dictatorship

Mussolini Justifies His Invasion of Ethiopia

Hitler Declares Germany’s Intentions

Winston Churchill Braces Britons to Their Task

Churchill Rallies the British People after the “Miracle of Deliverance” at Dunkirk

Stalin Commands the Soviet Peoples to Scorch the Earth Being Taken by Hitler’s Troops

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Asks Congress to Declare War on Japan

General Montgomery Takes Command and Draws the Line at El Alamein

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Acts to Defend the Falkland Islands

Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin Shakes Hands with His Lifelong Enemy

III. Tributes and Eulogies

Mark Antony Urges Mourners to Vengeance over the Body of Julius Caesar

Edmund Burke Laments the Death of Marie Antoinette

Henry Lee Remembers George Washington

Daniel Webster Puts a Speech in the Mouth of John Adams

Senator George Graham Vest Offers a Tribute to the Dog

Ralph Waldo Emerson Commemorates the Centennial of Robert Burns

Frederick Douglass Cuts through the Lincoln Myth to Consider the Man

Humanist Robert Green Ingersoll Speaks at His Brother’s Grave

James Blaine of Maine Eulogizes Assassinated President Garfield

Jane Addams Praises George Washington

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise Offers a Tribute to Lincoln

Will Rogers Eulogizes Woodrow Wilson

Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin Toasts a Lexicographer

George Bernard Shaw Salutes His Friend Albert Einstein

India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru Delivers the Eulogy for Gandhi

John F. Kennedy, in Praise of Robert Frost, Celebrates the Arts in America

Senator Robert F. Kennedy Speaks after the Assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

President Richard M. Nixon Defines “Politician” in Eulogizing Senator Everett Dirksen

President Jimmy Carter Salutes His Good Friend Hubert H. Humphrey

Senator Daniel P. Moynihan Spoofs Abstractionist Art at a Dedication Ceremony

Actor-Director Orson Welles Eulogizes Another Hollywood Legend, Darryl F. Zanuck

Secretary Jack Kemp, Saluting Winston Churchill, Applies the Munich Analogy to Kuwait

President Boris Yeltsin of Russia Eulogizes Victims of Communism’s Final Power Play

Senate Leader Robert Dole Remembers Richard Nixon as “One of Us”

IV. Debates and Argumentation

Cicero Rails against Catiline and His Conspiracies

Lord General Oliver Cromwell Orders the “Rump Parliament” Out of the House

A Youthful William Pitt the Elder Debates the Merits of Age

William Pitt the Younger and Charles Fox Disagree on Napoleon’s Offers of Peace

Senator Daniel Webster Backs the Union in His Reply to Senator Hayne

Senator John C. Calhoun Fights the Expunging of His Criticism of President Andrew Jackson

Abolitionist Charles Sumner Excoriates Two Senate Colleagues on the Issue of “Bloody Kansas”

Senator Stephen Douglas Differs with Lincoln on the “Popular Sovereignty” Decision on Slavery

John Cabell Breckinridge Disputes Colonel E. D. Baker’s Charge of Treason

Henry Cabot Lodge Speaks on the League of Nations

Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Appeals to the League of Nations to Stop Aggression

Candidates Nixon and Kennedy Meet in the First Televised Presidential Debate

Senators Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen Clash on Qualifications for the Presidency

V. Trials

Martin Luther Addresses the Diet of Worms

Sir Thomas More Defends Himself against Charges of Treason

Robert Emmet Demands That Posterity Be the Judge of His Irish Patriotism

Novelist Emile Zola Turns His Libel Defense into an Appeal to Free Falsely Convicted Dreyfus

Antiwar Dissident Eugene V. Debs Addresses the Court before Sentencing

Gandhi Defends His Beliefs

Defense Lawyer Clarence Darrow Answers a Supporter of Capital Punishment

Cuban Rebel Fidel Castro Defies His Captors and Predicts That History Will Absolve Him

Defense Attorney Johnnie Cochran Wins Acquittal for the Accused Killer O. J. Simpson

VI. Gallows and Farewell Speeches

Socrates, Condemned to Death, Addresses His Judges

Charles I and, Later, His Regicide Speak from the Scaffold

Rebel Richard Rumbold, on the Gallows, Attacks Booted and Spurred Privilege

Revolutionist Robespierre Delivers His Final Speech

President George Washington Delivers His Farewell

John Brown Has a Few Words to Say about His Death Sentence

King Edward VIII Abdicates His Throne

Yankee Great Lou Gehrig Bids Farewell to Baseball

General Douglas MacArthur Moves Congress with “Old Soldiers Never Die”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower Takes His Leave with a Surprising Theme

President Lyndon B. Johnson Halts the Bombing in Vietnam and Drops His Own Political Bomb

Speaker of the House James Wright Resigns as “Propitiation” for Ill Will

VII. Sermons

The Buddha Urges a Turning Away from Craving in His “Fire Sermon”

Jesus of Nazareth Delivers the Sermon on the Mount

Saint Francis Preaches to the Birds

John Wyclif Gives the Sixth Sunday Gospel after Easter

Religious Scourge Savonarola Demands Repentance from the Citizens of Florence

John Calvin Preaches on Suffering Persecution

Calvinist Jonathan Edwards Promises Hellfire and Damnation to the Sinful

Methodist John Wesley Asserts “Free Grace” to Deny the Implacability of Fate

Clergyman John Witherspoon Couples Religion with Politics

Chief Red Jacket Rejects a Change of Religion

Bishop James Madison Speaks on Divine Providence toward America

Lincoln, in His Second Inaugural, Seeks to Heal the Spiritual Wounds of War

Preacher Henry Ward Beecher Speaks of Visions

Evangelist Billy Sunday Preaches a Revival Sermon

Bishop Fulton John Sheen Makes a Wartime Plea

Rabbi Louis Finkelstein Delivers a Sermon in the White House

President Ronald Reagan Inveighs against the Sinfulness of Communism

The Exiled Dalai Lama Espouses a Philosophy of Compassion

VIII. Inspirational Speeches

Chemist Louis Pasteur Praises the Rise of Scientific Education

Theodore Roosevelt Blasts Ignoble Ease and Advocates the Strenuous Life

Mark Twain Reveals Stage Fright

Branch Rickey Discovers the Quality That Makes a Ballplayer Great

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Acknowledges a Ninetieth-Birthday Tribute

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Sets Forth His Family’s Creed

General Patton Motivates the 3rd Army on the Eve of the Invasion of Europe

Nobel Laureate William Faulkner Charges Writers with the Duty to Help Humanity Prevail

President John F. Kennedy Assures West Germany of America’s Steadfastness

Senator Everett Dirksen Extols the Marigold

President William Jefferson Clinton Urges Memphis Churchgoers to “Make Our People Whole Again”

President George W. Bush Envisions the “Age of Liberty”

IX. Lectures and Instructive Speeches

Philosopher-Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson Defines the Duties of the American Scholar

Edgar Allan Poe Presents His Theory of Beauty and Poetry

Mark Twain Stuns the Littery World by Spoofing Emerson, Longfellow, and Holmes to Their Faces

First Female Member of Parliament, Lady Astor, Expounds on Women in Politics

William Lyon Phelps Praises the Owning of Books

Broadcaster John Hilton Talks about Talking

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright Calls Up the Image of “the Floo Floo Bird”

Secretary of State Dean Acheson Explains Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union

Senator Henry Jackson Analyzes International Terrorism

Presidential Aide Jack Valenti Recalls the Lessons Learned at the Center of Power

Bush v. Gore
, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Speaks Out for Judicial Independence

Bioethicist Leon Kass Warns against the “Brave New World” of Cloning

X. Speeches of Social Responsibility

British Statesman William Pitt the Younger Urges Abolition of the Slave Trade

Lord Byron Puts Poetic Passion into His Defense of Labor’s Rights

Social Reformer Maria Stewart Advocates Education for Black Women

Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pleads for Women’s Rights

Evangelist Sojourner Truth Speaks for Women’s Rights

Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison Admits of No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery

Chief Seattle Cautions Americans to Deal Justly with His People

Susan B. Anthony Argues for Women’s Rights

Governor Huey Long of Louisiana Proposes to End the Depression by Redistributing Wealth

Labor’s John L. Lewis Defends His Union’s Right to Strike

FDR Reminds the Daughters of the American Revolution about Their Lineage

Walter Lippmann Scores His Generational Cohort for Having Taken “the Easy Way”

Elder Statesman Bernard Baruch Offers America’s First Plan to Control Nuclear Weapons

Senator Robert Taft Opposes War Crimes Trials as Ex Post Facto Law

Governor Kissin’ Jim Folsom of Alabama Startles the South with a Concern for the Negro

Senator Margaret Chase Smith Issues a “Declaration of Conscience” against Senator Joseph McCarthy

Vice-President Albert Gore Slams the Cynics and Asserts His Credo

Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan Argues That Male Domination of Women Offends Her Islamic Religion

XI. Media Speeches

Thomas Jefferson Returns Fire of “the Artillery of the Press”

Broadcaster Edward R. Murrow Despairs of the Future of TV Journalism

Playwright-Journalist-Diplomat Clare Boothe Luce Criticizes the American Press

FCC’s Newton Minow Excoriates Broadcasters for Failing to Serve the Public Interest

Vice-President Spiro Agnew Castigates the Media

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger of the
New York Times
Discusses Business and the Press

BOOK: Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History
7.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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