Selected American Speeches on Basic Issues, 1850-1950

Selected American Speeches on Basic Issues, 1850-1950

Selected American Speeches on Basic Issues, 1850-1950

Selected American Speeches on Basic Issues, 1850-1950

Excerpt

A speech which has survived the passage of time and has become part of our American heritage is one which either had an unusual impact on the thinking of the time at which it was delivered or which made a vital contribution to the later understanding of the history of the period. It is the product of some event which gives rise to a speech situation of unusual importance, but it does not happen without an accomplished speaker who rises to the occasion. Undoubtedly many excellent speakers would have made note- worthy speeches if the occasion had presented itself. But the speech situation and the speaker must both appear together. "True eloquence," said Webster, "must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion." This collection of speeches will concern itself with those exciting instances when the speech situation and the speaker were both on the stage of history at the same time.

This book is designed not only for the student of public speaking but also for the reader who enjoys history and biography. It will give him nineteen examples of modern eloquence from the minds and mouths of seventeen famous Americans. Many of these examples are not easily obtainable and rarely can be found in any anthology. The speeches are especially significant because they are drawn from certain selected moments of American history and show the speaker as a human force in a time of stress. He is not a mere worker with words and phrases but rather a brilliant molder of public opinion and a shaper of man's destiny. While there is much to be said for the value of edited and abridged versions of speeches, this book provides, as far as it is practicable to do so, the complete texts of a selected collection of outstanding American speeches. Such a volume should thereby furnish a greater opportunity for careful study and analysis.

Perhaps a whole new' expanse of interest in history and government may be found in these speeches. How better can critical . . .

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