TheWorldsGreatestSpeeches

Senior Course - 14 yrs and up, $175.00, 14 week course– Prerequisite: One Intermediate level course

In the Rhetoric Aristotle states that, “It is absurd to hold that a man should be ashamed of an inability to defend himself with his limbs, but not ashamed of an inability to defend himself with speech and reason; for the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.” There is no doubt that Rhetoric has been used in the World’s greatest speeches in order to persuade man to fight and believe in a cause. This class will explore many of the world’s greatest speeches and judge them through the light of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and through their own merits. What makes a speech great, even once the time for action has passed? How does one know when Rhetoric is being used for a good cause?

The Speeches studied in the course reach from Ancient Greece, to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. It will cover speeches from the World Wars, the Abolition of the Slave trade, and include a Nobel Peace Prize Speech.

Students will be asked to read, listen to and recite the speeches in preparation for each class in order to appreciate the difference between the written and spoken word and the interpretation of the speaker. Students will be given the chance to recite portions of the speech in class and the opportunity at the end of course to write their own speech.

Week 1 -  The Rhetoric by Aristotle Selections

Read: Rhetoric Selections

Book 1: 
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Book 2: 
Part 1
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 20
Part 22

Week 2 -  Pericles, “Funeral Oration”
431 BC; Athens
Read: Funeral Oration 
Listen: Funeral Oration Pericles 
*Note the Speech from Librivox includes a description of the funeral also. This is useful for context.

Week 3 - Socrates, “Apology”  399 B.C.; Athens, Greece
Read: Apology
Listen: Apology
*For those interested in hearing how it sounds in Greek*

Week 4 - Demosthenes, “The Third Philippic”  342 B.C.; Athens, Greece
Read: The Third Philippic
Listen: The Third Philippic

Week 5 - “Speech of Alexander the Great”  326 B.C.; Hydaspes River, India
Read: Speech of Alexander the Great
Listen: Speech of Alexander the Great

Week 6 - Marcus Tullius Cicero, “The First Oration Against Catiline”  63 BC; Rome, Italy
Read: The First Oration Against Catiline
Listen: The First Oration Against Catiline

Week 7 - Jesus Christ, “The Sermon on the Mount”  33 A.D.; Jerusalem
Read: Matthew 5 -7
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Listen: The Sermon on the Mount

Week 8 - William Wilberforce, “Abolition Speech”  May 12, 1789; House of Commons, London
Read: Wilberforce Abolition Speech
Listen:

Week 9 - Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”  July 5, 1852; Rochester, NY
Read: What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?
Listen: What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?

Week 10 - Winston Churchill, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears”  May 13, 1940; House of Commons, London
Read: Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Listen: Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Winston Churchill, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”  June 4, 1940; House of Commons, London
Read: We Shall Fight on the Beaches
Listen: We Shall Fight on the Beaches
      
Winston Churchill, “Their Finest Hour”  June 18, 1940; House of Commons, London
Read: Their Finest Hour
Listen: Their Finest Hour

Week 11 - William Faulkner, “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech”  December 10, 1950; Stockholm, Sweden
Read: Faulkner Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
Listen: Faulkner Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Week 12 - General Douglas MacArthur, “Duty, Honor, Country”  May 12, 1962; West Point, New York
Read: Duty, Honor, Country
Listen: Duty, Honor, Country

Week 13 - Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream”  August 28, 1963; Washington, D.C.
Read: I Have a Dream
Listen: I Have a Dream

Week 14 - Ronald Reagan, “40th Anniversary of D-Day”  June 6, 1984; Pointe du Hoc, France
Read: 40th Anniversary of D-Day
Listen: 40th Anniversary of D-Day