6. Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis Speech, 1962
The Cuban Missile crisis was a very tense moment in Cold War history, and nuclear war briefly seemed like a very real possibility. This speech was reassuring to Americans and showed that while the government would try to avoid nuclear warfare at all costs, they would also not back down to the Soviets. Kennedy’s level head and aversion of the crisis was a major turning point.
7. Lyndon Johnson’s We Shall Overcome Speech, 1965
Lyndon Johnson, or LBJ, definitely showed a commitment to the Civil Rights Movement over the course of his Presidency. He delivered this speech to Congress after a deadly race riot in Alabama, and used the phrase “We Shall Overcome,” which was a phrase widely used by prominent civil rights leaders. This speech emphasized equality, and urged Americans to start viewing people not in terms of race, but in terms of them also being Americans.
Here is a small clip of the speech, you can hear the whole thing here.
8. Nixon’s Resignation Speech, 1974
Despite anything else that happened during his Presidency, Nixon is remembered largely for his involvement in the Watergate Scandal, and the fact that he actually resigned from being the President. This speech is important because even though it marks Nixon’s failure, he still attempts to remind Americans of the positives, so he will not be remembered solely for Watergate, he left Americans with the sentiment that this event would hopefully help to move the nation forward.
9. Ford’s Inaugural Address, 1974
This speech, also known as “Our Long National Nightmare,” was given by Ford when he was sworn into office after Nixon’s resignation. Following a major Presidential scandal, the citizens were losing faith in the integrity of the government, and in his first address, Ford had the job of trying to restore faith in the office he just began to occupy.
10. Reagan’s Berlin Wall Speech, 1987
On a visit to Germany, Reagan delivered his speech from the physical embodiment of the physical division between the East and West after the Second World War, and the separation between communism and democracy. Around this time, the influence of the Soviets was in decline, and in this speech, Reagan called for Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” and get rid of this major symbol of communism.
Which speech inspires you most?
Featured image via ABC News