American History: The Greatest Speeches (1933-2008)

[FDR]: So first of all, let me assert my firm
belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Nameless, unreasoning,
unjustified terror which paralyzes needed us to convert retreat into advance. Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the
United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and
air forces of the Empire of Japan. A short time ago an American airplane
dropped one bomb on Hiroshima and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy.
That bomb has more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. The Japanese began the war
from the air at Pearl Harbor, they have been repaid many-fold. And the
end is not yet. With this bomb, we have now added a new
and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing
power of our armed forces. We have been compelled to create a permanent
armaments industry of vast proportions. In the council’s of government, we must
guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence—whether sought or
unsought—by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this
combination endanger our liberties or democratic process. I do not believe that any of us would
exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the
faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will
light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly
light the world. And so my fellow Americans ask not what your country can
do for you, ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but
what together we can do for the freedom of man. And there are even a few who say that it’s true that communism is an evil
system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lasst sie nach Berlin kommen—let them come to Berlin. [Cheering] All free men—wherever they may live—are
citizens of Berlin and therefore, as a free man, I take pride
in the words ich bin ein Berliner. I have a dream, that my four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color about skin, but by
the content in their character. I have a dream today. Let freedom ring and when it happens, we allow freedom ring, when we let it
ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will
be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and
sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is
plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong, deadly wrong, to deny any of your fellow
Americans the right to vote in this country. To know war is to know that there is still madness
in this world. They are poor to be lifted up, and there
are cities to be built, and there’s a world to be helped. Yet, we do what we must. I’m hopeful—and I will try, best I
can, with everything I’ve got—to end this battle and to return our sons to their
desires. Yet as long as others will challenge America’s
security, and test the dearness of our beliefs with fire and steel, then we must
stand or see the promise of two centuries tremble. All we say to America is be true to what you
said on paper. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of
the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right
to protest for rights. [Cheering] And so, just as I say we aren’t going to let any dogs
or water hoses turn us around, we aren’t going let any injunction turn us around. I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve
got some difficult days ahead. but it really doesn’t matter with me now
because I’ve been to the mountaintop. [Cheering] And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long
life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s
allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want
you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the promised land. [Cheering.] So I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m
not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. [Cheering] I have some very sad news for all of you,
and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens and people who love
peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was
killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to
love and to justice between fellow human beings, he died in the cause of that effort. For
those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in
my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member
of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we
have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to
understand, to get beyond—or go beyond— these rather difficult times. My favorite poem—my favorite poet was
Aeschylus—he once wrote ‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot
forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart until in our own despair, against our
will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’ What we need in the United
States is not division, what we need in the United States is not
hatred, what we need in the United States is not
violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom and compassion
toward one another, a feeling of justice toward those who
still suffer within our country, whether they be white, or whether they be black. Throughout the long and difficult period
of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere. To make every possible
effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. In the past few
days however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough
political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency
effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as
president at that hour, in this office. Today is a day for mourning and
remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core over the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of
the people of our country. This is truly a national loss. We’ve
never had a tragedy like this and perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it
took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven were aware of the
dangers and overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes. And I want to say
something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live
coverage of the shuttle’s take off. I know it’s hard to understand, but
sometimes painful things like this happen It’s all part of the process of
exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and
expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the
faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the
future and we’ll continue to follow. There is one sign the Soviets can make
that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of
freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek
peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you
seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. Just two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on
military targets in Iraq and Kuwait these attacks continue as I speak ground forces are not engaged this
conflict started August second when the dictator of Iraq invaded a small and
helpless neighbor Kuwait a member of the Arab Lee and a member of the United
Nations was crushed its people brutalized five months ago sediment
saying started this cruel war against Kuwait tonight that battle has been
joined this speaker mr. vice president members of Congress honored guests my
fellow Americans we are fortunate to be alive at this moment in history never before has our nation enjoyed at
once so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis
and so few external threats never before have we had such a blessing
opportunity and therefore such a profound obligation to build a more
perfect union of our founders dreams we begin the new century with over 20
million new jobs the fastest economic growth in more than
30 years the lowest unemployment rates in 30
years the lowest poverty rates in 20 years the lowest african-american and Hispanic
unemployment rates on record the first back-to-back surpluses and 42 years and
next month America will achieve the longest period of economic growth in our
entire history good evening just moments ago I spoke with George W
Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd President of the United States
and I promised them that I wouldn’t calling back this time now the US Supreme Court has spoken let
there be no doubt while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision I
accept it I accept the finality of this outcome
which will be ratified next monday in the electoral college and tonight for
the sake of our unity of the people and strength of our democracy I offer my concession this nation stands with the good people
of new york and the jersey and connecticut as we mourn the loss of
thousands of vs I can the rest of the world hears you and the
people and the people who knocked these
buildings down will hear all of us yeah yeah yeah and all those watching tonight from
beyond our shores from Parliament sand palaces to those who are huddled around
radios in the forgotten corners of the world are stories are singular but our
destiny is shared and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand to those to those who would tear the
world down we will defeat you to those who seek peace and security we
support you and to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns
as bright tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation
comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth but from the
enduring power of our ideals democracy Liberty opportunity and
unyielding hope yeah that’s the true genius of America that
America can change our union can be perfect what we’ve already achieved gives us
hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow this election had many firsts and many
stories will be told for generations but one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a
woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta she’s a lot like the millions of others
who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing and Nixon Cooper is
a hundred and six years old she was born just a generation passed slavery a time
when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky when someone like her
could vote for two reasons because she was a woman and because of the color of
her skin and tonight I think about all that she’s seen
throughout her century in America the Harding and the hope the struggle and
the progress the times we were told that we can’t and the people who pressed on with that
American creed yes we can at a time when women’s voices
were silenced and their hopes dismissed she lived to see them stand up and speak
out and reach for the bailout yes we can when there was this fair and
the Dust Bowl and depression across the lamb she saw a nation conquer fear itself
with a new deal new jobs a new sense of common purpose yes we can when the bombs fell on our
Harbor and tyranny threaten the world she was there to witness a generation
rise to greatness and a democracy was saved yes we can she was there for the buses
in Montgomery the hoses in birmingham a bridge in Selma and a preacher from
Atlanta who told the people that we shall overcome yes we can a man touch down on the moon a wall came down in Berlin a world was
connected by our own science and imagination and this year in this
election she touched her finger to a screen and
cast her vote because after a hundred and six years in America through the
best of times and the darkest of hours she knows how America can change yes we
can America we have come so far we have seen
so much but there’s so much more to do so tonight let us ask ourselves if our
children should live to see the next century if my daughter should be so lucky to
live as long as an mix and Cooper what change will they see what progress what we have made this is our chance to
answer that call this is our moment this is our time to
put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids to
restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace to reclaim the American Dream
and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many we are one that while we
breathe we hope and where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who
tell us that we can’t we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up
the spirit of a people yes we can thank you God bless you and
may God bless the United States of America yeah

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. In my opinion, J.F.K, M.L.K Jr & Obama gave the best speeches. I'm kinda saddened that you guys didn't include Kennedy's "We choose to go to the Moon" speech. In fact, one of my favourite quotes of all time, is from that very speech. It was about not letting difficulty get in the way & working hard to achieve your goal; difficulty would be a good motivator for you to keep going, not to give up.

  2. Where is Trump saying: I have great brain. My brain good! I am super mighty amazing!!
    and a bunch of other incoherent drunk talk Those should be on the greatest list 100%

  3. Definitely no Obama! He’s the worst gay First President Ever! Never had unemployment below 6% , GDP never over 3%, Allowed more Americans on Food Stamps and Welfare due to his Welfare’s Reform, said Manufacturing Jobs never coming back! Did nothing with Bhenghazi and Fast and Furious…etc!

  4. The government has one good agenda
    And that is to cover up for its action
    Every single time
    They fool their public and ruin the lifes of many and then cover up

  5. Did Luther King Jnr prophecy about his death?At 7….
    So painful. Only God will judge the inhumane human beings???

  6. These speeches just show how we can come together and unite just from a leader's words. A leader, either a Catholic president or a black Reverend from the South, can bring us together and show us how great we really can be.
    I think my favorites were MLK's mountaintop speech(very prophetic, and RFK's speech telling the crowd about MLK's death. And the reason I loved Bobby's speech so much is, he was a white man who took the time to comfort an all black crowd and tell them that he also had a loved one killed. And to not resort to even more violence. He was a great man, just like his brother.

  7. John F Kennedy, bobby Kennedy, Rev Martin Luther king. Three men who wanted to make the world a better place, taken by the world.

  8. Sad that such a great collection of oratory includes President Obozo–who, from a technical standpoint, had a great oratorical technique, but whose gift at speaking was wasted by being a lying traitor..!

  9. You will never see a Trump speech on a list like this . Or even an inspirational commercial for that matter

  10. Obama? Give me a break….that clown never said much at all that was ever worth listening to, let alone be considered anywhere NEAR the top ten, or the top 100 for that matter. Clown with a teleprompter.

  11. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"    Words to that effect were said by Goering when Benito Mussolini arrived to Munich in 1937….  In fact many people have come out with these words thru the years….   But most people think that Kennedy is the one who said them for the first time….   "Ich bin ein Berliner" actually means "I am a donut…"   Oh well…   Rich, good looking and Catholic….


  13. Listen to these speeches. Listen to what they call for: freedom for all, hope, kindness, change for the better, love for your fellow man. And when it is to deliver the most dire news, it is done with professionalism and dignity.

    Even though the country can feel like a shitshow that's barely being held together by duct tape, I still believe it's the greatest country on earth. The greatest experiment Man has ever embarked on.

  14. I personally think Eisenhower is pretty underrated. He was right about the military industrial complex

  15. Fundamental Change of America. He did not lie about that. He had such a great chance to bring us all together and instead he tore us apart. He is all about Black above white. That is Racism.

  16. Al Gore was probably disappointed when he lost the 2000 election but lucky for him he wasn't in office when the 9/11 attacks happened.

  17. R F K's speech is the best, in the sense he calmed down the whole of Indianapolis in 4 minutes. had he not been assassinated America would have got a humanity following president.

  18. Dr. Martin Luther King was true a man of God. God chose him to liberate his people from oppression. It's sad that he was assassinated. My role model Rest in heaven.

  19. read other historical speeches in this great book:

  20. 11yrs ago you had a brilliant person giving a fantastic speech who inspired millions across the world……now 11yrs on you have a man who divides the world & inspires nobody!! Your country,the USA has gone backwards sadly!!

  21. I feel so much pain for America after watching all these wonderful speeches, and see what we have today. My question is that: What went wrong?

  22. Hitler was great speaker drew
    huge crowds ! Obama was America’s Hitler ! It is not great
    speeches that make a man but what he does ! Obama was our evilest President who
    ignored our Constitution and tried to destroy America’s freedom of speech and religion!

  23. Missing Donald trump I can shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose support speech lol ? guy literally calls his supporters stupid and they still cheer

  24. MLK talkin bout “I may not make it with you..” then RFK announcin his death in the next speech…

  25. "Signing this bill today will grow both of our economies greatly" – Bill Clinton in 2000 on the trade deal with China

    USA has recession in 2008 while China becomes the biggest producer of products in the world!

  26. Obama on the thumbnail instead of Reagan? I’m sorry but most people would agree Reagan was far better at speaking than Obama.

  27. I remember the yes we can speech I was in high school in that time. Incredible to see how to the time has passed. Thanks for the video and thanks there is no Tr. …p?

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