Great Speeches

Barbara J. Feldman

One of the delights of Internet research is the availability of primary sources, such as original recordings of political speeches. Whether you’re a student writing a report, or a history buff of any age, you’ll find something of interest in the following speech collections.

  • American Rhetoric: Online Speech Bank3 stars

    Michael Eidenmuller, an Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Texas at Tyler, created a directory of over 5000 speeches, interviews, debates and "other recorded media events. The links are arranged alphabetically by first name (use your browser Find function to search for a specific speaker) and in two special collections: The Top 100 American Speeches and The Rhetoric of 9/11. Each entry notes whether the media is text or Real Audio (which can be either video or audio.)

  • History Channel Speeches5 stars

    "Hear the Words that Changed the World." Each day, the History Channel features a different speech from its vast Real Audio archive. To find a particular speech, browse by category (Politics & Government, Science & Technology, Arts, Entertainment & Culture, War & Diplomacy) or search the alphabetic index (follow the Speech Archive link.) Although this is a terrific source of original audio recordings from around the world, and each entry is annotated with a brief introduction, it does not include text transcripts.

  • History and Politics Outloud3 stars

    Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with Michigan State University, History and Politics Outloud is a "searchable archive of politically significant audio materials." The bulk of the hundred-item Real Audio collection is from the sixties and seventies, with a special focus on President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Johnson and the Warren Commission, and President Nixon and the Watergate hearings. It can be browsed by decade, speaker or title. In addition to the audio, some entries include a text transcript.

  • The History of Televised Presidential Debates5 stars

    "On September 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon made history with the first televised encounter between two presidential candidates." This unique multimedia exhibit from the Museum of Broadcast Communication in Chicago includes sections on that 1960 debate ("The Great Debate") and the next seven, ending with the 1996 Clinton/Dole event. In addition to the audiocasts, you'll find commentary, photos and headlines. For teachers, the Curriculum Resources section includes discussion topics and links to related sites.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Great Speeches." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 15 Jan. 2003. Web. 21 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/greatspeeches/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published January 15, 2003. Last modified July 10, 2014.

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