10 Most Prominent Speeches of All Time

Sometimes words can be more powerful than actions and when spoken by great orators, they inspire us to greatness and connect us to the world around us. These are the greatest speeches ever spoken; a collection of messages from some of the greatest and most notable orators in history.

10. Winston Churchill

“Their Finest Hour”

The Day: June 18, 1940

The Place: The House of Commons, London, England

“This was their finest hour” is the title commonly attributed to a speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 18 June 1940. It was given just over a month after he took over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the head of an all-party coalition government. It was the third of three speeches which he gave during (roughly) the period of the Battle of France.

9. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation”

The Day: December 8, 1941

The Place: Joint Session of Congress, Washington, D.C.

President Roosevelt addressed the nation after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 8th, 1941. He said that the Congress should declare that a state of was has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made a speech that shook every American family and in a few more hours it became official: America was going to war.

8. Queen Elizabeth I

“Against the Spanish Armada”

The Day: 19 August, 1588

The Place: England

In the 1500s there was a major rivalry on the seas between the ships of Britain and Spain over control of trade in the New World. King Philip II of Spain decided to settle the question once and for all by invading and conquering England itself. Philip assembled a huge fleet of warships known as the Spanish Armada and in 1588 sailed into the English Channel. Historically speaking, speeches on the battlefront are predominantly a man’s affair. Not so, here. On 19 August, 1588, England’s Queen – dressed in plumed helmet, white velvet gown and clutching a silver baton – gave the speech of her life, towering fearlessly on top of a white horse. Ready to fight, Athena, goddess of war, was reborn under a ruff. Let’s not forget this was 15th century England and she was a woman.

7.Hillary Clinton

“Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”

The Day: 5 September 1995

The Place: Beijing

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” is a phrase used in the feminist movement and is the name of a speech given by Hillary Clinton, the First Lady of the United States, on 5 September 1995, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.he speech is considered to be influential in the women’s rights movement, and in 2013 Clinton led a review of how women’s rights have changed since her 1995 speech.Clinton’s speech argued against practices abusing women around the world and in China itself. Elements brought up in the speech include dowry deaths and China’s one-child policy.

6. Nelson Mandela

“I am Prepared to Die”

The Day: April 20, 1964

The Place: Pretoria Supreme Court, South Africa

In 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested by South African security police for his opposition to the white government and its apartheid (“separateness”) policies of racial, political, and economic discrimination against the nonwhite majority. In 1964, the government brought further charges including sabotage, high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government. This is Mandela’s statement from the dock at the opening of his defense in the 1964 trial.

5. Socrates


The Day: 399 BC

The Place: Athens, Greece

Plato’s The Apology is an account of the speech Socrates makes at the trial in which he is charged with not recognizing the gods recognized by the state, inventing new deities, and corrupting the youth of Athens. Socrates’ speech, however, is by no means an “apology” in our modern understanding of the word. The name of the dialogue derives from the Greek “apologia,” which translates as a defense, or a speech made in defense. Thus, in The Apology Socrates attempts to defend himself and his conduct–certainly not to apologize for it.

4.Mahatma Gandhi

“Quit India”

The Day: August 8, 1942

The Place: Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay, India

The Quit India speech is a speech made by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, on the eve of the Quit India movement. He called for determined, but passive resistance that signified the certitude that Gandhi foresaw for the movement is best described by his call to Do or Die.

3. John F. Kennedy

“Inaugural Address”

The Day: January 20, 1961

The Place: Washington, D.C.

The inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States was held on Friday, January 20, 1961 at the eastern portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The inauguration marked the commencement of John F. Kennedy’s only term as President and of Lyndon B. Johnson’s only term as Vice President.

His inaugural address encompassed the major themes of his campaign and would define his presidency during a time of economic prosperity, emerging social changes, and diplomatic challenges. This inauguration was the first in which a poet, Robert Frost, participated in the program

2. Narendra Modi

“Come Make in India”

The Day:  September 28, 2014

The Place: Madison Square Garden, New York

Madison Square Garden was made to host big names: Bono, Beyonce, The Beatles have all played there. On Sunday, it’s the turn of Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister and the closest thing the country has right now to a stadium-filling rock star.

Mr. Modi, who led the Bharatiya Janata Party to the first parliamentary majority in the country in three decades in national elections in May, will address what organizers say will be the biggest gathering of Indian Americans in the U.S. ever.

1. Martin Luther King

“I Have a Dream”

The Day: August 28, 1963

The Place: The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

“I Have a Dream” is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement

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