From the eons of time, words have regulated the direction in which mankind moved. Some of the greatest orators ever to make an appearance in our planet delivered inspiring speeches that helped change the mindset of millions of people within their community, country and the entire world. Join us as we honor some of the most powerful speeches ever delivered in history.
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10. The Abolition Speech by William Wilberforce
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When William Wilberforce delivered his speech against abolition on May 12, 1789, he was a man at war with himself. He had only just converted to Christianity and attempted to change the world around him and slavery – which was one of the most glaring evils present at the time. Few famous speeches had the impact it had, as Wilberforce continued to press on year after year until the Slave Trade Act was passed in 1807.
9. The “Quit India” speech by Mahatma Gandhi
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One billion Indians were freed from British rule thanks to one of the most powerful speeches ever delivered. Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942 delivered the speech on August 8, 1942 and with the help of the National Indian Congress helped oust the British from India through the Quit India Resolution which followed. This remains one of the most inspiring speeches because it showed the world how a lot could be achieved through non-violent demonstrations and protests.
8. The Hypocrisy speech by Frederick Douglass
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Frederick Douglass was a former slave who escaped from slavery in 1838 and wrote the acclaimed autobiography in 1845. Thanks to his fame he was invited to give a speech as part of events marking 4th July in his adopted town of Rochdale, New York. There he gave one of the most powerful speeches of the time as to the irony of celebrating freedom when millions were in slavery.
7. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
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Possibly gaining inspiration from acclaimed Athenian orator Pericles, Abraham Lincoln delivered his one of the most famous speeches in the Gettysburg address in 1863 as he helped to dedicate a cemetery to fallen soldiers from the Battle of Gettysburg. Just about 265 words long – about 1/5th of this text – it remains one of the most succinct yet inspiring speeches ever known to mankind.
6. Britain’s Finest Hour by Winston Churchill
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Delivered on 18 June, 1940, this third and final speech during the pendency of the Battle of France was one of the most inspiring speeches ever delivered. Despite the dark hour in which Britain was faced – lone warriors against Nazi Germany following France’s surrender on 14th June 1940 – this was a clarion call for Britain to make its darkest patch its shining moment.
5. Kennedy’s Inaugural address
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The youngest president to be elected to office in the history of the United States reportedly spent 2 months crafting mankind’s most inspiring speeches. This is one of the most famous speeches thanks to one of its best remembered quotes “ask not what your country can do for you [but] what you can do for your country.” This quote which stresses on the importance of service to country has been repeated across the globe.
4. I have A Dream by Martin Luther King
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When Martin Luther King delivered one of the most powerful speeches of our time, racism was still prevalent in America. His lifestyle was already reminiscent of Gandhi with his focus being on peaceful protests and he had already drawn a large following through his lifestyle, his non-violent protests and oratorical skills. It was therefore no surprise that his dreams on American racial harmony aptly outlined in his “I have a dream” speech is one of the most famous speeches today. So powerful was his message that he won the Nobel Peace Prize a year later – the youngest man to ever win it.
3. Ronald Reagan’s Tear down the Wall speech
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Fewer of this list of famous and inspiring speeches were as unwelcome at the time they were delivered. Even members of Reagans team present at Brandenburg gate gave the speech a lukewarm attitude despite it coming as a direct challenge to then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin. It took two years for Reagan’s prophecy – which was declared between two bulletproof glass panes – to come through with the falling of the Berlin Wall. Today it is referred to as one of the most inspiring speeches that “changed the world.”
2. Alexander the Great’s battle speech against King Porus
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It takes a great deal of motivation to push an army that has fought and won for over 10 years to continue to do so. That was exactly what Alexander the Great did when his armies were faced against the armies of King Porus. Every great warrior has a great orator in him, and Alexander showed it delivering one of the most famous speeches of his time and the effect was instantaneous. His armies fought on, and won.
1. Socrates Apology
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Western history has not found a greater teacher than Socrates. His immense wisdom and skills in imparting knowledge led to his death by the Athenian authority who saw him as a threat. In response to the charges by the Athenian authority, Socrates delivered his Apology speech which rather than plead for mercy indulged on the authorities to see reason with him. Socrates then accepted his death penalty without any grudge or disgruntlement against his condemners.
These are the top 10 most powerful speeches of our time. Pass on a comment, we’ll love to read what you think.