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American Heritage Book of Great American Speeches for Young People

ISBN: 978-0-471-38942-2
308 pages
August 2001, Jossey-Bass
American Heritage Book of Great American Speeches for Young People (0471389420) cover image
The history of the United States has been characterized by fervent idealism, intense struggle, and radical change. And for every critical, defining moment in American history, there were those whose impassioned voices rang out, clear and true, and whose words compelled the minds and hearts of all who heard them. When Patrick Henry declared, "Give me liberty, or give me death!", when Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have a dream", Americans listened and were profoundly affected. These speeches stand today as testaments to this great nation made up of individuals with bold ideas and unshakeable convictions.

The American Heritage Book of Great American Speeches for Young People includes over 100 speeches by founding fathers, patriots, Native American and African American leaders, abolitionists, women's suffrage and labor activists, writers, athletes, and others from all walks of life, featuring inspiring and unforgettable speeches by such notable speakers as:

Patrick Henry * Thomas Jefferson * Tecumseh * Frederick Douglass * Sojourner Truth * Abraham Lincoln * Susan B. Anthony * Mother Jones * Lou Gehrig * Franklin D. Roosevelt * Albert Einstein * Pearl S. Buck * Langston Hughes * John F. Kennedy * Martin Luther King Jr.

These are the voices that shaped our history. They are powerful, moving, and, above all else, uniquely American.
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Introduction.

Powhatan, Chief of the Powhatan Confederacy (1609): To Captain John Smith.

Big Mouth, Onondaga Chief (1684): To De la Barre, Governor of Canada.

Andrew Hamilton (1735): In Defense of John Peter Zenger and the Freedom of the Press.

Canasatego, Onondaga Chief (1744): "We Will Make Men of Them".

John Hancock (1774): On the Fourth Anniversary of the Boston Massacre.

Logan, Mingo Chief (1774): To Lord Dunmore.

Patrick Henry (1775): "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death".

Solomon, Stockbridge Chief (1775): "We Have Ever Been True Friends".

Samuel Adams (1776): To the Continental Congress.

Benjamin Franklin (1787): To the Constitutional Convention.

Jonathan Smith (1788): To the Massachusetts Convention.

George Washington (1796): "Observe Good Faith and Justice towards All Nations".

Thomas Jefferson (1801): First Inaugural Address.

Red Jacket, Seneca Chief (1805): "We Never Quarrel about Religion".

Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief (1811): "Sleep Not Longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws".

Pushmataha, Choctaw Chief (1824): Welcome to Lafayette.

Daniel Webster (1825): Bunker Hill Oration.

Black Hawk, Sauk Chief (1832): "Farewell to Black Hawk".

Sam Houston (1836): "Remember the Alamo!"

Elijah Lovejoy (1837): In Defense of a Free Press.

Angelina Grimke (1838): "What Has the North to Do with Slavery?"

Henry Highland Garnet (1843): The Call to Rebellion.

Lewis Richardson (1846): "My Grave Shall Be Made in Free Soil".

Thomas Corwin (1847): Against War with Mexico.

Frederick Douglass (1847): "If I Had a Country, I Should Be a Patriot".

Henry Clay (1850): A Call for a Measure of Compromise.

Sojourner Truth (1851): "If You Have Woman's Rights, Give Them to Her".

Frederick Douglass (1852): "What to the American Slave Is Your Fourth of July?"

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1854): On the Fugitive Slave Law.

Seattle, Duwamish Chief (1854): "We Will Dwell Apart and in Peace".

Lucy Stone (1855): "A Disappointed Woman".

Abraham Lincoln (1858): "A House Divided".

Stephen Douglas (1858): Sixth Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

John Brown (1859): To the Court after Sentencing.

William Lloyd Garrison (1859): On the Death of John Brown.

Jefferson Davis (1861): Farewell to the Senate.

Abraham Lincoln (1863): The Gettysburg Address.

Abraham Lincoln (1865): "With Malice toward None, with Charity for All".

Henry M. Turner (1868): "I Hold That I Am a Member of This Body".

George Graham Vest (1870): Eulogy on the Dog.

Cochise, Chiricahua Apache Chief (1872): We Will Remain at Peace with Your People Forever".

Susan B. Anthony (1873): "Are Women Persons?"

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce (1877): "I Will Fight No More Forever"

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1892): "The Solitude of Self".

William Jennings Bryan (1896): "A Cross of Gold".

Russell Conwell (late 1890s): "Acres of Diamonds".

Harry Gladstone (1898): To the Machine Tenders Union.

Mother Jones (1901): To the United Mine Workers of America.

Florence Kelley (1905): "Freeing the Children from Toil".

Mark Twain (1906): "In Behalf of Simplified Spelling".

Theodore Roosevelt (1910): Citizenship in a Republic.

Rose Schneiderman (1911): On the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire.

John Jay Chapman (1912): The Coatesville Address.

Stephen S. Wise (1914): Tribute to Lincoln.

Woodrow Wilson (1915): "An Oath of Allegiance to a Great Ideal".

Anna Howard Shaw (1915): The Fundamental Principle of a Republic.

Woodrow Wilson (1917): "The World Must Be Made Safe for Democracy".

Emma Goldman (1917): "First Make Democracy Safe in America".

Eugene V. Debs (1918): "While There Is a Lower Class, I Am in It".

Clarence Darrow (1924): In Defense of Leopold and Loeb.

Alfred E. Smith (1928): "Anything Un-American Cannot Live in the Sunlight".

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933): "The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself".

Lou Gehrig (1939): "The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth".

Harold Ickes (1941): "What Constitutes an American?"

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1941): "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy".

Learned Hand (1944): "The Spirit of Liberty".

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1944): "The Eyes of the World Are upon You".

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1944): The Fala Address.

Douglas MacArthur (1944): "People of the Philippines: I Have Returned".

Roland Gittelsohn (1947): Eulogy at the Marine Corps Cemetery.

Albert Einstein (1947): To the United Nations.

Margaret Chase Smith (1950): "The Four Horsemen of Calumny".

William Faulkner (1950): "I Decline to Accept the End of Man".

Pearl Buck (1951): Forbidden to Speak at Cardozo High School Graduation.

Charlotta Bass (1952): "Let My People Go".

Richard Nixon (1952): The Checkers Speech.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1955): There Comes a Time When People Get Tired".

Langston Hughes (1957): "On the Blacklist All Our Lives".

Roy Wilkins (1957): "The Clock Will Not Be Turned Back".

John F. Kennedy (1961): "Ask What You Can Do for Your Country".

Douglas MacArthur (1962): "Duty, Honor, Country".

John F. Kennedy (1963): "Let Them Come to Berlin".

Martin Luther King Jr. (1963): "I Have a Dream".

Charles B. Morgan Jr. (1963): "Four Little Girls Were Killed"

Earl Warren (1963): Eulogy for President John F. Kennedy.

Malcolm X (1964): "The Ballot or the Bullet".

Barry Goldwater (1964): "Extremism in the Defense of Liberty Is No Vice".

Mario Savio (1964): "History Has Not Ended".

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1965): "We Shall Overcome".

Adlai Stevenson (1965): To the United Nations.

William Sloane Coffin Jr. (1967): The Anvil of Individual Conscience".

Cesar Chavez (1968): "God Help Us to Be Men!"

J. William Fulbright (1968): "The Focus Is Vietnam".

Martin Luther King Jr. (1968): "I' ve Been to the Mountaintop".

Robert F. Kennedy (1968): On the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Shirley Chisholm (1969): "The Business of America Is War".

Frank James (1970): On the 350th Anniversary of Plymouth.

Archibald Cox (1971): "The Price of Liberty to Speak the Truth".

Barbara Jordan (1974): "My Faith in the Constitution Is Whole".

Richard Nixon (1974): "I Shall Resign the Presidency".

Silvio Conte (1975): "I Must 'Raise a Beef' about This Bill".

Dr Seuss (1977): Commencement Address at Lake Forest College.

Esther Cohen (1981): At the Liberators Conference.

Samantha Smith (1983): "Look Around and See Only Friends".

Ronald Reagan (1986): To the Nation on the Challenger Disaster.

Thurgood Marshall (1987): On the Bicentennial of the Constitution.

Ronald Reagan (1987): "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!"

Jesse Jackson (1988): To the Democratic National Convention.

Daniel Inouye (1993): To the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team.

Cal Ripken Jr. (1995): To His Fans.

Charles S. Robb (2000): "They Died for That Which Can Never Burn".

Appendix: To the Young Speaker.

Permissions.

Photo Credits.

Index of Speakers.

Index of Themes.

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American Heritage is well known for its magazine on American history, as well as many highly acclaimed books, including the American Heritage History of the United States and the American Heritage Illustrated History of the Presidents.
SUZANNE McINTIRE has been collecting great speeches for many years. She is a freelance writer and the mother of two.
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How many of you remember the agony of having to memorize the Gettysburg Address in school? Or perhaps it was something by one of the founding father? "Who needs this stuff?" you would moan. "What's the point?"
The major problem with historic orations, students have always complained, is that they are dry. American Heritage, one of the foremost magazine about this nation's culture, has collected an eclectic set of speeches given not only by politicians, but also by people in many walks of life, from sports figures to "ordinary" people in extraordinary circumstances.
The Book of Great American Speeches for Young People contains over 100 discourses on a myriad of topics. Some classics can be found within, such as Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy." On a lighter political note, there's the "Checker's Speech," in which Richard Nixon swore that the only gift he received during 1952 campaign was a little cocker spaniel and that "we're gonna keep him."
Other orators in The Book of Great American Speeches for Young People include Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mark Twain, just to name a few. Speeches are used to influence and encourage, so there are several "declamations" which consider the struggles for women's suffrage, civil right and the evils of slavery. And since the nation was founded on free speech, there are also numerous discourses of protest and dissent.
The less earthshaking fare, though no less dramatic, is also here. Lou Gehrig paid an emotional farewell to baseball, in which, though stricken with the terminal illness that would one day bear his name, he considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
One of the more poignant speeches, to which young readers will relate, was given by 10-year old Samantha Smith in 1983 to the Children's Symposium on the Year 2001, after her impassioned letter to Soviet Premier Yuri Adropov made world news. The letter stated her fears nuclear war between his country and American, proving that young people can make that difference.
In addition to its generous collection, The Book of Great American Speeches for Young People encourages readers to speak out for what they believe in. Its concluding chapter on how (and why) to make an effective speech will give the reader a boost of confidence and a skill which will prove useful long after school days are over. (BookPage, October 2001)

Gr7 Up--A useful compendium of more than 100 speeches that span nearly 400 years of American history, from Powhatan (1609) to Senator Charles Robb (2000). Prominent orators include Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. Two indexes allow readers to find a selection by its speaker or its theme. Black-and-white photos and reproductions accompany many of the entries. Alongside the Founding Fathers and patriots are athletes, authors, and media celebrities. The speeches inform readers and provide examples of how the spoken word has affected Americans throughout our past. --David M. Alperstein, Queens Borough Public Library, NY (School Library Journal, December 2001)
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