Fourth quarter, two minutes left, down by 10 points. The team’s tired, feeling dejected, then the coach gives a rousing speech, that can be the difference between victory or defeat. A speech if done right has the power to inspire, incite change, get your blood boiling, make you feel invincible. Some of the most powerful and influential speeches to this day have the power to mobilize the masses and elicit feelings of pride and hope. These are the top 5 speeches that stood the test of time.
“I Have A Dream”
It is almost impossible to find anyone who doesn’t know this phrase and who made it famous. On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King cemented his place in history. The “I have a dream” speech was given at the gathering for the Jobs and Freedom March in Washington D.C. A decree for equality and freedom for African-Americans, the speech was instrumental in the passing of the Civil Rights Act.
“Of the people, By the people, For the people”
The Civil War was one of the deadliest wars ever fought on American soil. In November 1863 at a memorial for the fallen soldiers, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. Three minutes long, this shows the power of a speech is not in its length but the strength of the message.
“I am the First Accused”
Nelson Mandela is one of the most respected leaders in history. He was the first African American president to rule South Africa and a key protagonist in the fight against apartheid. He was charged for crimes against the government and gave an impassioned speech that was part defense and part sermon.
“We Shall Fight”
Following the evacuation of the Allied soldiers from Dunkirk, Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a searing speech before the House of Commons. His speech was a reality check to the British people that even though the Allied troops narrowly escaped Dunkirk, the war was far from over. He added that though it was an uphill task, he vowed to fight wherever was needed to safeguard his country.
“Freedom or Death”
This list would not be complete without the dynamic Emmeline Pankhurst. A staunch advocate for women’s rights, she literally fought for the cause using militant tactics. The year was 1913, in Hartford Connecticut where she delivered the Freedom or Death speech. Reaffirming her position as a suffragette and her steadfastness in achieving equality by any means necessary.