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4 Speeches That Changed America

September 8th, 2012

It’s hard to sum up the American spirit in a few short words, but these 4 speeches managed to do just that: 

  1.  Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty, or give me death”

They were the final words Henry said to the Virginia Convention back in 1775, but they certainly made a point!  In fact, Henry’s words were so inspiring that Thomas Jefferson credited the speech for Virginia’s formation of a militia that would fight in the Revolutionary War.

  1.  Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Given as part of the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetary in Gettysburg, this speech may have been short, but Lincoln made a heckuva point — that none of these soldiers would be allowed to die in vain.  Instead, Lincoln said Americans needed to use their deaths as motivation to create a “new birth of freedom”.  Lincoln refused to let the U.S. die just because it was at war with itself.

  1.  Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”

Made from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, this speech was a thoughtful, well-written, perfectly-delivered plea for America to give democracy to all of its citizens.  King’s speech defined the Civil Rights Movement and made it possible for people not to be “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

At the end of the day, isn’t that what America is all about?

  1.  George W. Bush’s address to the nation on 9/11

This speech isn’t remembered so much for its words — but for the circumstances surrounding it.  Nearly 3,000 innocent people had just been killed on U.S. soil, and there was President Bush in the Oval Office, telling Americans that we would not succumb to terrorists.

We found out later that Bush gave the speech in spite of the Secret Service’s reservations about letting the President return to Washington, D.C. that day.  However, Bush was determined to give Americans hope after terrorists tried to take it away.

4 Things You Don’t Know About the Gettysburg Address

August 29th, 2012

Regardless of political views, people consider the Gettysburg Address to be the most memorable and influential speech in history.  After all, Abraham Lincoln had a massive challenge — to unite Americans after the Civil War tore them apart, and to do it while overlooking the graves of thousands of soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

The speech’s mark on history is even more impressive when you consider that:

  •  It was short

At just 272 words, the Gettysburg Address was over in less than three minutes

Can you remember what was said in the 2012 State of the Union Address?  It lasted 77 minutes, and I bet you don’t remember a single one of its talking points!

  •  Lincoln wrote it all himself

Can you imagine today’s leaders sitting down at their desk and writing their own speech — then delivering it flawlessly without a teleprompter?!

  •  No one clapped

Unlike the hooting and hollering that we see during political speeches today, the response at the end of the Gettysburg Address was stone-cold silence — which stirred up all kinds of debate.  Some people thought it was proof that the audience didn’t like it.  Others thought the silence showed that people were in awe of what Lincoln had just said.

  •  Lincoln had smallpox at the time

The day before the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln told his assistants he didn’t feel so good, and they said he looked weak and dizzy.  Within a few days, Lincoln had a high fever, major aches and pains, and skin that was covered in red blisters.  Now THAT’S devotion to the task at hand!

 

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