The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches

Brian MacArthur - Editor

Paperback | $18.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780241953266 | 528 pages | 28 May 2013 | Penguin | 5.07 x 7.79in | 18 - AND UP
Summary of The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches Summary of The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches Reviews for The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches An Excerpt from The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches
The definitive collection of famous speeches by some of the most important figures in world history—newly repackaged

In this superb companion volume to the acclaimed Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Speeches, veteran journalist Brian MacArthur brings together the words of more than one hundred influential men and women who changed and inspired the world through the sheer power of their oratory.
            This newly updated edition includes the best speeches in history from notable modern political figures such as Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as famed historical figures such as Moses, Cicero, and Socrates. Helpfully broken out into categories such as Ancient Times (Moses, Jesus, Mohammed), The Birth of the United States (John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin), and Women’s Liberation (Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Betty Freidan), this indispensable reference deserves a spot on the shelf of every student, armchair historian, and teacher. 




Moses ’Thou shalt not…’ (c. 1250 BC)

Pericles ’Athens crowns her sons’ (431 BC)

Socrates ’No evil can happen to a good man’ (399 BC)

Demosthenes ’I have always made common cause with the people’ (330 BC)

Marcus Tullius Cicero ’Among us you can dwell no longer’ (63 BC)

Jesus of Nazareth ’Blessed are the poor in spirit’ (c. 33)

Muhammad ’Turn thy face towards the Sacred Mosque’ (7th century)


Ethelbert ’We do not wish to molest you’ (597)

William the Conqueror ’Be ye the avengers of noble blood’ (1066)

John Ball ’Cast off the yoke of bondage’ (1381)

Thomas Cranmer ’I shall declare unto you my very faith’ (1556)

Queen Elizabeth I ’I have the heart and stomach of a king’ (1588)

Queen Elizabeth I ’To be a king’ (1601)

King James I ’Kings are justly called Gods’ (1609)

Sir John Eliot ’The exchequer…is empty…the jewels pawned’ (1628)

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford ’You, your estates, your posterity, lie at the stake!’ (1641)

John Pym ’He should perish by the justice of that law which he would have subverted’ (1641)

John Pym ’The cry of all England’ (1642)

Thomas Rainborowe ’The poorest he’ (1647)

King Charles I ’I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown’< (1649)

Oliver Cromwell ’In the name of God, go!’ (1653)

Oliver Cromwell ’Let God be judge between me and you’


John Winthrop ’We shall be as a city upon a hill’ (1630)

Andrew Hamilton ’The cause of liberty’ (1735)

James Otis ’A man’s house is his castle’ (1761)

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham ’I rejoice that America has resisted’ (1766)

John Hancock ’The tremendous bar of God!’ (1774)

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham ’The kingdom is undone’ (1775)

Edmund Burke ’This spirit of American liberty’ (1775)

Patrick Henry ’Give me liberty, or give me death!’ (1775)

Samuel Adams ’Be yourselves, O Americans’ (1776)

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham ’You cannot conquer America’ (1777)

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham ’If we must fall, let us fall like men!’ (1778)

Benjamin Franklin ’I agree to this Constitution with all its faults’ (1787)

Alexander Hamilton The thing is a dream’ (1788)


Sir Robert Walpole ’I am conscious of no crime’ (1741)

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham ’Where law ends, there tyranny begins’ (1770)

Edmund Burke ’He is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament’ (1774)

John Wilkes ’The wounds given to the Constitution…are still bleeding’ (1775)

Charles James Fox ’The most odious species of tyranny’ (1783)

Edmund Burke ’He is doing indeed a great good’ (1783)

Charles James Fox ’What is the difference between an absolute and a limited monarchy?’ (1783)

Edmund Burke ’I impeach Warren Hastings’ (1788)

Richard Brinsley Sheridan ’Justice…august and pure’ (1788)

William Wilberforce ’Let us make reparation to Africa’ (1789)

William Pitt the Younger ’A barbarous traffic in slaves’ (1792)

Charles James Fox ’The spirit of freedom’ (1795)


Mirabeau ’Woe to the privileged orders!’ (1789)

Mirabeau ’Hideous bankruptcy is here…And yet you deliberate!’ (1789)

Richard Price ’Tremble all ye oppressors of the world!’ (1789)

Pierre Vergniaud ’Your blood shall redden the earth’ (1792)

Georges Jacques Danton ’To dare, to dare again, ever to dare!’ (1792)

Maximilien Robespierre ’Louis must perish because our country must live!’ (1792)

Thomas Erksine ’The rights of man’ (1792)

Georges Jacques Danton ’The people have nothing but blood’ (1793)

Pierre Vergniaud ’The Revolution, like Saturn, devouring successively all her children’ (1793)

Pierre Vergniaud ’Our moderation has saved the country’ (1793)

Camille Desmoulins ’It is a crime to be a king’ (1793)

Maximilien Robespierre ’Terror is nothing else than justice’ (1794)

Maximilien Robespierre ’The Supreme Being’ (1794)

Maximilien Robespierre ’Death is the beginning of immortality’ (1794)

William Pitt the Younger ’Danger with the indelible shame and disgrace’ (1797)

William Pitt the Younger ’An implacable spirit of destruction’ (1800)

Charles James Fox ’Must the bowels of Great Britain be torn out?’ (1800)

William Pitt the Younger ’Europe is not to be saved by any single man’ (1805)


George Washington ’I retire from the great theatre of action’ (1783)

George Washington ’Observe good faith and justice towards all nations’ (1796)

Gouverneur Morris ’I am an American’ (1800)

Thomas Jefferson ’Equal and exact justice to all men’ (1801)

Red Jacket ’We also have a religion’ (1805)

Tecumseh ’Once a happy race. Since made miserable.’ (1810)

Simon Bolivar ’The triple yoke of ignorance, tyranny and corruption’ (1819)

Daniel Webster ’The first scene of our history’ (1820)

Daniel Webster ’Liberty and union, now and forever’ (1830)

Seth Luther ’We have borne these evils by far too long’ (c. 1832)

John C. Calhoun ’The controversy is…between power and liberty’ (1833)

Wendell Phillips ’The priceless value of the freedom of the press’ (1837)

Henry Clay ’The dove of peace’ (1850)

John C. Calhoun ’This cry of union’ (1850)

Daniel Webster ’Liberty and union’ (1850)

Frederick Douglass ’I hear the mournful wail of millions’ (1852)


Henry Brougham ’I stand up…against the friends and followers of Mr. Pitt’ (1812)

George Canning ’The interest of England’ (1823)

Robert Peel ’The dangers which menace states’ (1831)

Henry Brougham ’Reject not this bill!’ (1831)

Thomas Macaulay ’A matter of shame and remorse’ (1833)

Richard Cobden ’You are the gentry of England’ (1845)

Benjamin Disraeli ’The cause of the people, the cause of England’ (1846)

Sir Robert Peel ’I cannot charge myself with having taken any course inconsistent with Conservative principles’ (1846)

Benjamin Disraeli ’I suffer, and I see no hope’ (1849)

Henry Palmerston ’The strong arm of England’ (1850)

Benjamin Disraeli ’England does not love coalitions’ (1852)

William Gladstone ’A Budget…which may peril our safety’ (1852)

John Bright ’I am told indeed that the war is popular’ (1854)

John Bright ’The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land’ (1855)

John Bright ’If all other tongues are silent, mine shall speak’ (1861)

John Bright ’A mighty fabric of human bondage’ (1862)

William Gladstone ’You cannot fight against the future’ (1866)

Benjamin Disraeli ’Sanitas sanitatum, omnia sanitas’ (1872)

Benjamin Disraeli ’The issue is not a mean one’ (1872)

William Gladstone ’God speed the right’ (1879)

William Gladstone ’Remember the rights of the savage’ (1879)

William Gladstone ’Liberty for ourselves, Empire over the rest of mankind (1879)

William Gladstone ’The blessed ends of prosperity and justice, liberty and peace’ (1879)

William Gladstone ’The most inexpressible calamity’ (1883)


Chief Seattle ’On the Red Man’s trail’ (1855)

William Lloyd Garrison ’Man above all institutions!’ (1854)

Abraham Lincoln ’The monstrous injustice of slavery’ (1854)

Abraham Lincoln ’A house divided against itself cannot stand’ (1858)

Abraham Lincoln ’I have labored for and not against the Union’ (1858)

John Brown ’The blood of millions’ (1859)

Abraham Lincoln ’Let us have faith the right makes might’ (1860)

Jefferson Davis ’A final adieu’ (1861)

Abraham Lincoln ’My feeling of sadness at this parting’ (1861)

Abraham Lincoln ’We are not enemies, but friends’ (1861)

Edward Everett ’A new bond of union’ (1863)

Abraham Lincoln ’Government of the people, by the people, for the people’ (1863)

Abraham Lincoln ’With malice toward none’ (1865)

Chief Joseph ’I will fight no more’ (1877)

Henry W. Grady ’Fields that ran with human blood in April were green with the harvest in June’ (1886)

Booker T. Washington ’A new heaven and a new earth’ (1893)

Booker T. Washington ’The sacrifice was not in vain’ (1896)

William Jennings Bryan ’You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold’ (1896)


Henry Grattan ’The breath of liberty’ (1780)

Henry Grattan ’A free people’ (1782)

John Philpot Curran ’Universal emancipation’ (1794)

Wolfe Tone ’Whatever be the sentence of the court, I am prepared for it’ (1798)

Henry Grattan ’Thou art not conquered’ (1800)

Robert Emmet ’I am going to my cold and silent grave’ (1803)

Daniel O’Connell ’The eternal right to freedom of conscience’ (1814)

Richard Lalor Sheil ’Men with starvation in their faces’ (1828)

Daniel O’Connell ’We are eight millions, and you treat us thus’ (1833)

Daniel O’Connell ’Ireland shall be free’ (1843)

Patrick Pearse ’Ireland unfree shall never be at peace’ (1915)

Roger Casement ’In Ireland alone, in this twentieth century, is loyalty held to be a crime’ (1916)


Frances Wright ’Let us rejoice as human beings’ (1828)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton ’We now demand our right to vote’ (1848)

Sojourner Truth ’A’n’t I a woman?’ (1851)

Lucy Stone ’Disappointment is the lot of women’ (1855)

Sojourner Truth ’I have a right to have just as much as a man’ (1867)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton ’The male element is a destructive force’ (1868)

Susan B. Anthony ’Are women persons?’ (1872)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton ’The true woman’ (1888)

Emmeline Pankhurst ’The laws that men have made’ (1908)

Emma Goldman ’The political criminal of today must needs be the saint of the new age’ (1917)

Dolores Ibarruri Gomez (‘La Pasionaria’) ’Fascism shall not pass’ (1936)

Betty Friedan ’A woman’s civil right’ (1969)


David Lloyd George ’The great pinnacle of sacrifice’ (1914)

V.I. Lenin ’Long live the world socialist revolution’ (1917)

Woodrow Wilson ’Man will see the truth’ (1919)

Mahatma Ghandi ’Non-violence is the first article of my faith’ (1922)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt ’The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ (1933)

Adolf Hitler ’My patience is now at an end’ (1938)

Winston Churchill ’I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’ (1940)

Winston Churchill ’This was their finest hour’ (1940)

John F. Kennedy ’A new generation of Americans’ (1961)

Martin Luther King ’I have a dream’ (1963)

Nelson Mandela ’An ideal for which I am prepared to die’ (1964)

Vaclav Havel ’A contaminated moral environment’ (1990)

Nelson Mandela ’Let freedom reign’ (1994)

Select Bibliography

“Impeccable. Macarthur prefaces each address with a shot but scholarly historical explanation that sets the scene perfectly. An attractive volume with a splendidly pithy introduction.” – The Sunday Times (London)

“MacArthur wisely [concentrates] on certain political conflicts – gathering together the oratory of the American Civil War or the campaign for female suffrage. His book works well not just as an anthology but as a history of those episodes.” – The Independent

To keep up-to-date, input your email address, and we will contact you on publication

Please alert me via email when:

The author releases another book