This list of speeches includes those that have gained notability in English or in English translation. The earliest listings may be approximate dates.
Before the first century
- 431 BC: Funeral Oration by the Greek statesman Pericles, significant because it departed from the typical formula of Athenian funeral speeches and was a glorification of Athens' achievements, designed to stir the spirits of a nation at war.
- 399 BC: The Apology of Socrates, Plato's version of the speech given by the philosopher Socrates, defending himself against charges of being a man "who corrupted the young, refused to worship the gods, and created new deities."
- 330 BC: On the Crown by the Greek orator Demosthenes, which illustrated the last great phase of political life in Athens.
- 63 BC: Catiline Orations, given by Marcus Tullius Cicero, the consul of Rome, exposing to the Roman Senate the plot of Lucius Sergius Catilina and his friends to overthrow the Roman government.
Pre 19th century
- 1803: Speech From the Dock by the Irish nationalist Robert Emmet.
- 1823: President James Monroe's State of the Union Address to Congress in which he first stated the Monroe Doctrine.
- 1838: Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum Address, delivered to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838, discusses citizenship in a democratic republic and internal threats to its institutions.
- 1851: Ain't I A Woman?, extemporaneously delivered by abolitionist Sojourner Truth at a Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio.
- 1854: The Peoria speech, made in Peoria, Illinois on October 16, 1854, was with its specific arguments against slavery, an important step in Abraham Lincoln's political ascension.
- 1856: The Crime against Kansas speech was delivered on the US Senate floor on May 19-20, 1856 by Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a radical Republican, about the conflicts in "bleeding Kansas."
- 1858: A House Divided, in which U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, speaking of the pre-Civil War United States, quoted Matthew 12:25 and said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
- 1860: Cooper Union Address by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, in which Lincoln elaborated his views on slavery, affirming that he did not wish it to be expanded into the western territories and claiming that the Founding Fathers would agree with this position.
- 1861: The Cornerstone speech by Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, in which he set forth the differences between the constitution of the Confederacy and that of the United States, laid out causes for the American Civil War, and defended slavery.
- 1861: Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, on the eve of the American Civil War.
- 1861: Abraham Lincoln's Fourth of July Address, a written statement sent to the U.S. Congress, recounts the initial stages of the American Civil War and sets out Abraham Lincoln's analysis of the southern slave states rebellion as well as Lincoln's thoughts on the war and American society.
Otto von Bismarck in the North German Parliament.
- 1862: The Blood and Iron speech by Prussian strongman Otto von Bismarck on the unification of Germany.
- 1863: The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln, resolving that government "of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
- 1865: Lincoln's Second Inaugural, in which the President sought to avoid harsh treatment of the defeated South.
- 1873: The "Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?" speech by Susan B. Anthony, who in her effort to introduce women's suffrage into the United States asked her fellow citizens "how can the “consent of the governed” be given if the right to vote be denied?"
- 1877: The Surrender of Nez Perce Chief Joseph, pledging to "fight no more forever."
- 1890–1900s: Acres of Diamonds speeches by Temple University President Russell Conwell, the central idea of which was that the resources to achieve all good things were present in one's own community.
- 1893: Swami Vivekananda's address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, in which the Indian sage introduced Hinduism to North America.
- 1896: Cross of Gold by U.S. presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, advocating bimetallism.
Pre-World War I & World War I
Interwar years and World War II
- 1930: Allahabad Address by Muhammad Iqbal. Presented the idea of a separate homeland for Indian Muslims which was ultimately realized in the form of Pakistan.
- 1932: The Bomber Will Always Get Through. a phrase used by English statesman Stanley Baldwin in a House of Commons speech, "A Fear For The Future."
- 1933: You Cannot Take Our Honour by Otto Wels, the only German Parliamentarian to speak against the Enabling Act, which took the power of legislation away from the Parliament and handed it to Adolf Hitler's cabinet.
- 1933: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself, from the first inaugural address of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- 1934: Every Man A King, a phrase used in many speeches by Louisiana Governor Huey Long.
- 1934: Speech of Gallipoli by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
- 1936: Address to the League of Nations by the Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia on the invasion of his country by Benito Mussolini of Italy.
- 1936: Unamuno's Last Lecture by Miguel de Unamuno, in which he criticized the Spanish Nationalists.
- 1939: The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth, by baseball player Lou Gehrig upon his retirement from the New York Yankees.
- 1939: King George VI of the United Kingdom delivers a radio address at the outbreak of World War II calling for his subjects in Britain and the Empire to stand firm in the dark days ahead.
- 1940: The Presidential address by Muhammad Ali Jinnah to the All India Muslim League's session in Lahore, 1940 on passing of Lahore Resolution.(Transcript.)
- 1940: Arsenal of Democracy, a radio address by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who warned against a sense of complacency if Britain were to fall to the Axis powers.
- 1940: The Appeal of 18 June, French leader Charles de Gaulle's radio broadcast from London, the beginning of the Resistance to German occupation during World War II.
- 1940: Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat, a phrase used by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1897 but popularized by Winston Churchill in the first of three inspirational radio addresses during the opening months of World War II.
- 1940: We Shall Fight on the Beaches, from the second radio talk by Winston Churchill, promising to never surrender.
- 1940: This Was Their Finest Hour, the third address by Winston Churchill, giving a confident view of the military situation and rallying the British people.
- 1940: Never Was So Much Owed by So Many to So Few by Winston Churchill, speaking in another radio talk about the air and naval defenders of Great Britain.
- 1940: The final speech in The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin in the role of a Jewish barber, in which he demanded solidarity between all people and a return to values like peace, empathy and freedom.
- 1941: Four Freedoms, in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlined goals for peace but called for a massive build-up of U.S. arms production.
- 1941: Three Sermons in Defiance of the Nazis, in which German Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen issued forceful, public denunciations of Third Reich euthanasia programs and persecution of the Catholic Church.
- 1941: A Date Which Will Live in Infamy, post-Pearl Harbor speech to the U.S. Congress in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt called for a declaration of war against Japan.
- 1942: Quit India by Mohandas K. Gandhi, calling for determined, but passive, resistance against British occupation.
- 1942: The Forgotten People by the Australian Liberal Party leader Sir Robert Menzies, defining and exalting the nation's middle class.
- 1943: Do You Want Total War? by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who exhorted the Germans to continue the war even though it would be long and difficult.
- 1943: A page of glory...never to be written were two secret speeches made by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler in which for the first time a high-ranking member of the Nazi government spoke publicly of the on-going extermination of the Jews in extermination camps. They demonstrate that the Nazi government wanted and planned the Holocaust.
- 1944: Paris Liberated by Charles de Gaulle on the day he took up governmental duties at the War Ministry in Paris.
- 1945: Jewel Voice Broadcast, recorded by Japanese Emperor Hirohito and broadcast as an unconditional capitulation to the Allies.
1945 - 1991 Cold War years
Martin Luther King delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 Washington D.C. Civil Rights March.
- 1947: Tryst with Destiny by Jawaharlal Nehru, about the hundred-year struggle against the British Empire in India.
- 1948: The Light Has Gone Out of Our Lives by Jawaharlal Nehru, about the assassination of Mohandas K. Gandhi.
- 1948: Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Speech at the opening ceremony of The State Bank of Pakistan. (Transcript.)
- 1949: Speech of Liaquat Ali Khan On the passing of Objectives Resolution. (Transcript.)
- 1949: Four Points by U.S. President Harry Truman, setting his postwar goals.
- 1949: The Light on the Hill by Australia Prime Minister Ben Chifley, paying tribute to the country's labour movement.
- 1951: Old Soldiers Never Die by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur in an appearance before Congress after being fired by President Truman as Supreme Commander in the Korean War.
- 1952: The political Checkers speech by U.S. vice-presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon, in which he mentioned his family's pet dog of that name.
- 1953: The Chance for Peace was an address by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower shortly after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that highlighted the cost of the US–Soviet rivalry to both nations.
- 1953: History Will Absolve Me, a four-hour judicial defense by revolutionary Fidel Castro on charges of leading an attack on Cuban Army barracks.
- 1953: Atoms for Peace, an address by Eisenhower on the creation of an international body to both regulate and promote the peaceful use of atomic power.
- 1956: On the Personality Cult and its Consequences by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, castigating actions taken by the regime of deceased Communist Party secretary Joseph Stalin. Widely known as the "Secret Speech" because it was delivered at a closed session of that year's Communist Party Congress.
- 1956: Speech by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali On the fourth draft of Constitution of Pakistan. (Transcript.)
- 1956: The Speech of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy as Leader of the Opposition on Constitution of Pakistan. (Transcript.)
- 1956: We Will Bury You by Nikita Khrushchev, addressing Western ambassadors at a reception in the Polish embassy in Moscow.
- 1957: Longest Speech in the United Nations by Indian delegate V.K. Krishna Menon.
- 1959: There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom by physicist Richard Feynman, on the possibility of direct manipulation of individual atoms as a new form of chemical synthesis.
- 1960: Wind of Change speech by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in South Africa, restarting the policy of decolonialisation that had been halted by the Conservative U.K. government.
- 1961: Eisenhower's farewell address, a speech at the end of the term of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in which he warned of the rise of the "military-industrial complex" in the United States.
- 1961: Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, the inaugural address of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in which he advised his "fellow Americans" to "ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
- 1961: The Wasteland speech by Newton Minow, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, in which he asserted that "when television is bad, nothing is worse."
- 1962: Richard Nixon turned his concession speech in the California gubernatorial election into a 15-minute monologue aimed mainly at the press, famously (though as it turned out, prematurely) stating "...you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."
- 1963: Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever by Alabama Governor George Wallace, which became a rallying cry for those opposed to racial integration and the U.S. civil rights movement.
- 1963: I Am Prepared to Die by South African leader Nelson Mandela at his trial in which he laid out the reasoning for using violence as a tactic against apartheid.
- 1963: American University Speech speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy to construct a better relationship with the Soviet Union and to prevent another threat of nuclear war after the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.
- 1963: Ich Bin Ein Berliner ("I am a Berliner") by U.S. President John F. Kennedy, voicing support for the people of West Berlin.
- 1963: I Have a Dream, Lincoln Memorial speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in which the civil rights leader called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.
- 1964: The Ballot or the Bullet by Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X, urging African-Americans to exercise their right to vote but warning that if they were prevented from attaining equality, it might be necessary to take up arms.
- 1964: A Time for Choosing, the stock campaign speech that Ronald Reagan made on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.
- 1964: Speech at the United Nations in 1964 by Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
- 1966: Day of Affirmation by U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, speaking to South African students about individual liberty, apartheid, and the need for civil rights in the United States.
- 1967: Vive le Québec libre ("Long live free Quebec"), a phrase ending a speech by French President Charles de Gaulle in Montreal, Canada. The slogan became popular among those wishing to show their support for Quebec sovereignty.
- 1968: I've Been to the Mountaintop, the last speech delivered by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
- 1968: The Death of Martin Luther King Jr. by U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
- 1968 :Robert F. Kennedy's speech, On the Mindless Menace of Violence.
- 1968: A Good and Decent Man, the funeral eulogy for Robert F. Kennedy by his younger brother, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.
- 1968: Rivers of Blood by United Kingdom Conservative Enoch Powell about immigration.
- 1971: This Time the Struggle Is for Our Freedom by Bengali nationalist leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, regarded by many in Bangladesh as a de facto declaration of independence.
- 1971: Address to the Women of America by feminist leader Gloria Steinem. Not only did the speech address the issues of sexism and misogyny, but also those of racism and social class.
- 1974: I Have Never Been a Quitter, the resignation speech of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon.
- 1975: No More Than a Piece of Paper, the Israeli response to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, that Zionism is "a form of racism and racial discrimination," delivered by Ambassador Chaim Herzog.
- 1975: Nothing will save the governor-general, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's reaction to the dissolution of parliament following his dismissal by the Governor-General of Australia John Kerr.
- 1983: Evil Empire, a phrase used in speeches by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to refer to the Soviet Union.
- 1987: Tear Down This Wall, the challenge made at the Brandenburg Gate by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall.
- 1987: Today and Forever, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa's reaction to the failure of the Meech Lake Accord on the Canadian Constitution.
- 1988: Sermon on the Mound, in which British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher offered a theological justification for her ideas on capitalism.
- 1989: The Gazimestan speech, in which Serbian President Slobodan Milošević warned of "armed battles" in the future of Yugoslavia.
- 1990: Their Bats Have Been Broken, the resignation speech of Geoffrey Howe as deputy prime minister in the Margaret Thatcher government of the United Kingdom.
- 1991: A speech by U.S. President George Bush to the Ukrainian parliament, encouraging Ukraine to remain in the then-disintegrating Soviet Union, caused an uproar among Ukrainian nationalists and American conservatives, with commentator William Safire dubbing it the Chicken Kiev speech.
1992 - 2000 Post Cold War years
- 1992: Culture War speech by U.S. conservative Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, in which he described "a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America."
- 1995: The concession speech of Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau after the narrow defeat of the 1995 Quebec independence referendum, in which he blamed the loss on "money and ethnic votes," mistranslated into English as "money and the ethnic vote."
- 1996: I Am an African by South African Vice-President Thabo Mbeki on the adoption of a new Constitution for the country.
- 1999: Elie Wiesel's: "The Perils of Indifference" Speech, He gave in front of the President of the United States.
- 2001: U.S. President George W. Bush's Address to the Nation on September 11, 2001. (Transcript.)
- 2003: Iraq War Eve-of-Battle speech by British Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins.
- 2004: U.S. Democratic National Convention Keynote address by Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, which helped him become nationally known.
- 2004: Pound Cake speech by African American entertainer Bill Cosby, in which he criticized several significant aspects of modern African American culture.
- 2005: Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address. (Transcript / Video.)
- 2006: Balatonőszöd speech, a strident and obscenity-laden speech made by Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány to fellow members of the Hungarian Socialist Party. The speech, intended to be confidential, was leaked to the media and led to mass protests.
- 2006: Chocolate City speech by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, concerning race politics in the city several months after Hurricane Katrina.
- 2007: The Last Lecture, delivered by Randy Pausch, a terminally ill computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, which became an Internet sensation and gained major media coverage.
- 2008: The "Sorry" speech, delivered by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, regarding the Stolen Generations — children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments, in the 1860s through to the 1960s. (Transcript / Video.)
- 2008: A More Perfect Union, in which U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama responded to controversial remarks made by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor.
- 2008: Barack Obama's Election Victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois.
- 2009: A New Beginning, a speech made by U.S. President Barack Obama which was designed to reframe relations between the Islamic world and the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The President gave this speech in Cairo, Egypt, outlining his personal commitment to engagement with the Muslim world, based upon mutual interests and mutual respect, and discusses how the United States and Muslim communities around the world can bridge some of the differences that have divided them.
- 2012: Sexism and misogyny speech made by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on October 9, 2012 in reaction to alleged sexism from opposition leader Tony Abbott. (Transcript / Video.)