TheWorldsGreatestSpeeches

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?

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.

All readings will be provided in an online format to registered students.


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. Authors include: Jesus, Aristotle, Socrates, Alexander the Great, William Wilberforce, Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, William Faulkner, Douglas MacArthur, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan.