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I Have a Dream (Excerpt)

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the conclusion of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. Delivered in the rhetorical tradition of the [...]

A Delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention Fears for the Little People

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Though ultimately ratified by all thirteen states, the decision was by no means unanimous, and ratification [...]

A Virginia Patriot Speaks Out Against Ratification of the Constitution

Patrick Henry was a Virginia patriot best known for his "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech on the eve of the Revolutionary War. He was also known as one of the most radical advocates of republican government. In this speech before the [...]

A Virginian Argues for a Bill of Rights at the Ratification Convention

Patrick Henry, the Virginia patriot best known for his "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech, was also one of the leading Anti-Federalists. In this excerpt from a speech before the Virginia Ratification Convention, he makes the case for an [...]

A Revolutionary Veteran Describes African-American Soldiers

A white veteran of the Revolutionary War, known only as "Dr. Harris," delivered this speech before the Congregational and Presbyterian Anti-Slavery Society in New Hampshire in 1842.

A New York Democrat Champions Territorial Expansion

Mike Walsh was an Irish immigrant, former gang leader, and editor of the radical Democratic newspaper The Subterranean. An advocate of working-class causes, he was strongly anti-abolitionist and supported the annexation of Texas. He gave the [...]

Item Type: Speech
An Abolitionist Denounces War with Mexico

Theodore Parker, a well-known abolitionist and Congregationalist minister, delivered the following sermon to an antiwar group gathered in Boston in June 1846.

A Southern Senator Opposes the "All-Mexico" Plan

John C. Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina and future spokesman for southern secession, delivered the following speech to Congress on January 4, 1848.  At the time, U.S. and Mexican diplomats were in the midst of negotiating a peace treaty to [...]

An Abolitionist Speaks Forcefully for Women's Rights

Women and African Americans were demanding the rights of citizenship in the 1850s. At an 1851 women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio Sojourner Truth rose and asked the president, "May I say a few words?" She then conveyed to the audience a [...]

Item Type: Speech
President Lincoln Seeks to Reassure the South After His Election

Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President during a time of national crisis. His election had prompted the secession of South Carolina and six other states, and Federal troops were surrounded at Fort Sumter. In his inaugural address, Lincoln sought [...]

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