The Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century

Posted on May 22, 2005

Who has the "power of rhetorical eloquence" in America? That was the question addressed by Stephen E. Lucas (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Martin J. Medhurst (Baylor University). They asked 137 leading scholars of American public address to rank the top 100 political speeches of the 20th century and made them available for free on the Web.

Some of the speeches picked are not surprising: Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech, John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, and Ronald Reagan's Shuttle Challenger Disaster Address. But there was also a bestselling fantasy/SF author who made the list. Ursula LeGuin's "A Left-Handed Commencement Address" was #84.


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