02 May 2007

Unforgettable speeches

ABC RN recently conducted a poll of its listeners to ascertain the http://www.abc.net.au/rn/features/speeches/"> most unforgettable speeches ever made.

The Top 20, which show how broadly a "speech" can defined are:

  • 1. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. I have a dream, 28 August 1963, Washington DC.
  • 2. Jesus. Sermon on the Mount. c27.
  • 3. Paul Keating. The Redfern Address, 10 December 1992, Redfern Park.
  • 4. Winston Churchill. We Shall Fight on the Beaches, 4 June 1940, House of Commons.
  • 5. Abraham Lincoln. Gettysburg Address, 19 November 1863.
  • 6. John F. Kennedy. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Inaugural speech 20 January 1961, Washington DC.
  • 7. Earl Spencer. Funeral Oration for Diana Princess of Wales, 6 September 1997, Westminster Abbey.
  • 8. Henry V Act IV Scene III. Author William Shakespeare c 1599. St Crispin’s Day speech made before the Battle of Agincourt (which occurred on 25 October 1415).
  • 9. Gough Whitlam. The Dismissal, 11 November 1975, Parliament House steps.
  • 10. Queen Elizabeth I. I have the heart and stomach of a king, 9 August 1588. (Address to the troops at Tilbury as the Spanish Armada approached Britain.)
  • 11. Nelson Mandela. An Ideal for Which I am Prepared to Die. Statement at trial, 20 April 1964, Johannesburg.
  • 12. Mahatma Gandhi. Non-violence is the first article of my faith, 23 March 1922, Ahmadabad.
  • 13. Socrates. Statement at trial condemning him to death, 399BC, Athens.
  • 14. Robert Kennedy. Address to National Union of South African Students, 7 June 1966, Cape Town University.
  • 15. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We Now Demand Our Right To Vote, Keynote Address to Women’s Rights Convention, 19 July 1848 New York.
  • 16. William Wilberforce. Abolition of Slavery, 12 May 1789, House of Commons.
  • 17. Alfred Deakin. These are the times that try men’s souls, 15 March 1898, Bendigo.
  • 18. Pericles. Funeral Oration for the fallen of the Peloponnesian War, 431 BC.
  • 19. Mark Antony. Friends, Romans, Countrymen Lend Me Your Ears, Julius Caesar Act III Scene II. Author William Shakespeare c1599.
  • 20. Ben Chifley. The Light on the Hill, 12 June 1949, ALP Conference.

I'm not familiar with all of these yet I think it would be hard to beat the winner, which can be seen here. It's worth listening to it all.

As a spinoff from the main event, ABC RN's Bush Telegraph is running a poll to find the most inspiring speech of rural Australia. Voting is still in progress, though to vote you have to choose one of nine nominated speeches, which you can see here.

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