Revisiting Three Iconic American Speeches: The Words of FDR, JFK, & MLK

Stephanie Yuhl – College of the Holy Cross

The 3 Greatest American Speeches of the 20th Century

We live in a time of competing soundbites, media highlights, and “fake news” claims that urge us to examine more carefully what we believe is true about the US political landscape.  Sometimes, we react to the current tumult by assuming that this discord is a new situation and that things were simpler and more direct back in the so-called “good old days.”


Three Stirring American Speeches

In this class, we will explore this impulse by revisiting three stirring 20th-century American speeches: by Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  We will examine moments that we all think we know well because they constitute the foundation of our popular sense of America — as a nation and a people. But as we dig deeper beyond the surface of simple soundbites and into the lesser-known context and controversies surrounding these iconic historical moments, we may be surprised to find that our understanding of the past and present may not be as clear as we have assumed, after all.


Learn More About Great American Speeches

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