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Reasons to Study Historical Speeches

by Ron Kurtus (revised 21 January 2017)

There are several reasons to study historical speeches. One obvious reason is to investigate the historical significance of the speech and analyze the implications made by the speaker. You may also want to examine the text of the speech to improve your own ability in speech writing. On other reason may be to improve your own speaking skills by practicing with an outstanding speech.

(Text of Address)

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Analyzing the historical significance

Famous speeches are given for a specific reason and usually to a specific audience. It is worthwhile to know what was going on at the time of the speech and what caused the speaker to give the speech.

Knowing the historical background will also help to understand the meaning of what the speaker was saying. It is assumed that the audience knew what he or she was referring to, but a reader years later may not be too sure. This is the type of things that teachers like to test their students on.

Improving speech writing skills

You can improve you own speech writing skills by examining the text and flow of good speeches.

Things to note when studying the various speeches are:

Outline the various speeches to show where new ideas are presented and grouped. Point out where effective imagery, examples, or emotional appeal are used.

Improving public speaking skills

You can improve your public speaking skills by practicing, using some of the famous speeches. Usually, the material is written so that it can be easily verbalized.

Read the speech out loud—perhaps to a small audience or to yourself in a mirror. Pause at the commas and periods to allow for better understanding by the audience. Vary your pitch, rate and emotional level as you see fit.


The reasons to study historical speeches are to investigate the significance of the speech and analyze the implications made by the speaker, to improve your own ability in writing a good speech, and to improve your own speaking skills by practicing with an outstanding speech.

Learn by studying the best

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Historic Speeches Resources


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Top-rated books on Famous Speeches

Top-rated books on Oratory and Rhetoric

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