Rhetoric has long captured the hearts of masses. The deliverance of ideas in a manner that captures the soul and the mind and leads to movements that revolutionize times and policies have shaped the history of our world. The most charismatic of leaders derive their charisma from strong rhetoric and here are just a few political speeches that have mobilized masses and left a deep mark on the events of the past twentieth century.
1. ‘I Have a Dream”- Martin Luther King
Delivered at the peak of the American Civil Rights Movement by the hero the Movement that secured rights for the black community in America and then throughout the world, the dream was one of basing community on the basis of equality and for alleviating the status of a non-white being from above of that a side lined member of the society.
2. Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy
Delivered on the occasion of his inauguration, John F Kennedy’s address before he took up the oath of Presidency did for America what the ‘Promise of Obama’ has done for today’s world. He talked of how it wasn’t just the victory of a party but the victory of the people and their determination to rise above human poverty and injustice. It is from this speech that his famous quote “The world is very different now”.
3. Inaugural Address by Franklin D. Roosevelt
This great address on the occasion of his induction into the role of the American President set the basis for the further policies for which Roosevelt is known for. He talked about a common cause, the importance of unity and the need for America to realize its potential. His expressed idea that the only unconquerable fear is the fear of fear itself is a widely quoted one and it has been taken from this very speech.
4. The Ballet or the Bullet by Malcolm X
This was public speech delivered by the much controversial, human rights activist figure of Malcolm X. In this rhetoric he advised the African-American population to exercise their right to vote and to take up arms in case the leaders beguiled them into voting for the idea of a nation where African Americans are not treated justly.
5. The Pearl Harbour Address by Franklin D. Roosevelt
In the speech delivered right after the Pearl Harbour incident, Roosevelt threw light on the attacks made by Japan and requested the cabinet to declare a state of war between America and Japan. It was monumental in the sense that it reflected truly the stance of the American government and formulation of Policies.
6. Checkers by Richard Nixon
Checkers to Watergate synopsis took shape in this speech that President Nixon delivered after the Watergate scandal was revealed. Nixon tried to justify and explain in this the activities of the regime that finally forced him out of his office.
7. Shutter Challenger Address by Reagan
When the Shutter Challenger exploded in the air some 73 seconds after its take off, a NASA project gone horribly wrong, this speech of consolation was received very well in the public circles. This national tragedy was used by this great orator to remind the nation once again of the values it stands for and that progress comes at a cost which we should be more careful about.
8. I Have Been to the Mountaintop By Martin Luther King
The last speech he delivered before his assassination, this served as a landmark in terms of the scope of the principles dictated for the movement. Martin Luther King rose once again as a courageous leader ready to bring his people the sweet taste of victory- what, in this case, meant the right to justice and equality.
9. Farewell Address by Eisenhower
Eisenhower was the first U.S president to be ‘constitutionally forced’ out of his presidency. As he addressed the nation in a farewell speech, he raised the issue of Cold war and the government policies surrounding it. A very astute and somber figure, his farewell address is of great importance for anyone who aims to understand better the era of the Cold War.
10. Ich Bin Ein Berliner by John F. Kennedy
In a phrase that means “I am a Berliner”, John F. Kennedy delivered another unforgettable address. He addressed and proclaimed full U.S support for West Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall.