Speeches are examples of the art of oratory, which is almost as old as speech itself. Speeches are a form of communication that adds to the knowledge and wisdom of listeners, or that influences their attitudes or behavior.

Speeches are often given on regular occasions, and for ceremonial or traditional reasons, such as the United States State of the Union Address or the British Queen's Speech; however, particularly in Parliamentary democracies, they can be much less formal and are an essential part of political debate. In other countries they may have a less traditional or ritualised role but are still an effective tool in informing listeners and motivating them to action.

The purpose of the Speeches Portal is to provide one central point to co-ordinate, organise and increase our collection of speeches. Guidelines on the addition, format and proofreading of speeches are available at Speeches Guidelines.

For information on copyright see Speeches Copyright.

Our featured speech this month is A house divided given by Abraham Lincoln on 16 June 1858 on the issue of slavery in the United States.

...A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South. Have we no tendency to the latter condition?... Continued

Medieval Speeches

Early Modern Speeches

See Portal:Early modern speeches

Modern Speeches

See Portal:Modern speeches

Abridged Speeches

Not all speeches added to this archive are complete, various sources omit portions of speeches, particularly those given before the invention of the internet. In order to improve wikisource if you have access to the complete text of these speeches please add those portions which are omitted, or add (and proof read) the whole text of the speech. All abridged speeches are listed in Category:Abridged speeches.


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Requested Speeches

  • The Speeches of the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, ed. A. W. Hutton and H. J. Cohen (1902)
    • Can't find scan Looks like this is a 10-volume set, but only v9, v10 are immediately obvious (files uploaded). Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 19:10, 21 September 2020 (UTC)
    Per various libraries (British, Oxford, London, etc.) only volumes 9 and 10 were ever published. MarkLSteadman (talk) 23:25, 22 December 2023 (UTC)
  • Socialism - Kier Hardie
  • Blood and Iron - Otto von Bismarck
    • Is there a full text of this? I can see some German original text at here (top of col 2, Oct 6, 1862). Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 16:50, 12 November 2020 (UTC)
      • @Inductiveload Best I can find are this in Fifty major documents of the nineteenth century and this in the Life of Bismarck. Another scan here has a line of the speech and makes reference to a French translation, here, which in turn points to pp. 33–34, vol. 1 ed. 2 (which I could not locate, though it might be helpful for French Wikisource). Apparently, though, no verbatim transcript of the speech exists. Shells-shells (talk) 16:58, 15 March 2022 (UTC)
      • @Inductiveload I have zero clue why I didn't mention the German-language transcript of Bismarck's speech listed as a source in Fifty major documents: namely, "Horst, Kohl, ed., Die politischen Reden des Fürsten Bismarcks: historische-kritische Gesammtausgabe (14 vols.; Stuttgart, 1892-1904), II, pp. 29-30." A scan is available here. Shells-shells (talk) 05:08, 25 October 2022 (UTC)
        Another German source is here: [1] from the Gesammelten Werke, which is the source for the 2007 Riemer translation. MarkLSteadman (talk) 23:45, 15 June 2024 (UTC)
  • Jeannette Rankin's sole dissenting vote, and the speech that accompanied it, against US participation in WWII
    • Vote at Cong. Rec. v.87, part 9, p. 9536. But I do not see a speech by Rankin (note there are two Rankins) on that date, just some comments/points of order. Presumably the speech was then not made on the House floor that day? Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 20:47, 10 November 2020 (UTC)
      • @Inductiveload Is there any reason to believe that she gave a speech at all? Here's all I can find: Rankin objected to the declaration of war (p. 9520, col. 2); then, after some sixteen pages of her colleagues' oratory, she attempted to speak but was refused the floor. Two days later (p. 9496 9646, column 3) w:Clare Hoffman mentioned "that I noticed on the day war was declared that recognition was denied to a Member of the House, the gentlewoman from Montana [Miss Rankin] to express her views." Rankin shows up again on the 15th (p. 9798, col. 3) to object to a bill proposing a death penalty in cases of wartime sabotage, and then seems to disappear from the record. If Rankin did have a speech prepared for the declaration of war, it does not appear in Part 9; nor can I find it in the Appendix. Did she publish it elsewhere? Shells-shells (talk) 05:35, 25 October 2022 (UTC)
  • Any speeches missing at Portal:Speeches by British Prime Ministers

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