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June 23, 2004

Site of the Day

American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches

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Name: American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches

Brief Description of the Site:
Exactly what did Dr. King say in his "I Have a Dream" speech? What did General Douglas MacArthur say in "Duty, Honor, Country"? What did Pres. Nixon say in his resignation speech? Here in one place are these speeches and 97 others. They can be arranged by decade or by rank order. Many are also available as MP3 or RealAudio files, which means that students can hear Pres. Roosevelt deliver the "Day of Infamy" speech or Pres. Kennedy deliver "Ich Bin Ein Berliner". In addition there are speeches by female orators, speeches from movies, and a separate section on the almost-lost art of rhetoric.

How to use the site:
Teachers of social studies will welcome the chance to make history come alive for their students. Imagine being able to play and tape-record FDR's words as he announces that this nation would enter WWII. Imagine being able to analyze and speculate upon the truth of Pres. Eisenhower's warnings re: "the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" given in his farewell speech. Teachers of English/Language Arts will welcome the chance to deconstruct and study these speeches, helping their students to analyze and understand the persuasive power they represent. Some might even require students to memorize and recite selected passages, a device that helped past generations appreciate the power of English but which sadly is seldom done these days.

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