In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the American Century

In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the American Century

by Senator Robert Torricelli, Andrew Carroll

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ISBN-10: 0743410521

ISBN-13: 9780743410526

Pub. Date: 10/01/2000

Publisher: Washington Square Press

This bestselling collection of American oratory is the most comprehensive anthology of its kind: a record of twentieth-century America captured in the words that inspired and infuriated, electrified and galvanized its people. Decade by decade, generation to generation, history unfolds in the famous and infamous expressions of Americans from all walks of


This bestselling collection of American oratory is the most comprehensive anthology of its kind: a record of twentieth-century America captured in the words that inspired and infuriated, electrified and galvanized its people. Decade by decade, generation to generation, history unfolds in the famous and infamous expressions of Americans from all walks of life: poets and politicians, artists and astronauts, soldiers and sports legends, preachers and pacifists, humorists and hell-raisers.
In Our Own Words bears witness to the forces that swept our nation — two World Wars, Prohibition, the Depression, the Cold War, the Civil Rights era, Vietnam, the Reagan era, and beyond — and features the voices of Theodore Roosevelt
• Booker T. Washington
• Mark Twain
• Emma Goldman
• Woodrow Wilson
• Marcus Garvey
• Oliver Wendell Holmes
• George S. Patton
• Pearl Buck
• Orson Welles
• Jackie Robinson
• Joseph McCarthy
• Rachel Carson
• Vince Lombardi
• Barry Goldwater
• John F. Kennedy
• J. Edgar Hoover
• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
• Malcolm X
• Richard M. Nixon
• Frank Zappa
• Elie Wiesel
• Charlton Heston
• Ryan White
• Duke Ellington
• Billy Graham
• Barbara Jordan
• Bill Clinton
• Cesar Chavez
• Helen Keller
...and dozens of others who tell the story of their age from their podiums and soapboxes, courtrooms and convention halls.

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Washington Square Press
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Table of Contents


Foreword by Doris Kearns Goodwin




Don P. Halsey Extols the Virtues of Great Oratory

Senator Albert J. Beveridge Defends America's Right to Subjugate "Savage" Peoples and Foreign Governments

Senator George F. Hoar Denounces American "Imperialism"

Jane Addams Offers an Impassioned Tribute to George Washington on the Anniversary of His Birthday

Tammany Hall Politician George Washington Plunkitt justifies "Honest Graft"

President Theodore Roosevelt Condemns the "Muckrakers" Who Smear and Slander Honest Men

The Reverend Dr. Donald Sage Mackay Addresses the Question "Does God Care?" After an Earthquake Destroys San Francisco

W. E. B. Du Bois Issues a Call to Arms to His Fellow African Americans in the "Battle for Humanity"

Booker T. Washington Warns Against Confrontational Actions That May Do More Harm than Good

Mark Twain Speaks to Misses Tewksbury's School for Girls on Smoking, Drinking, and Lying

Ida B. Wells-Barnett Calls Attention to the Epidemic of Lynchings and "Mob Murder" in America

Chief Plenty Coup Confers with His Tribal Council on Achieving Peace Between the Great Tribes of the United States

The Reverend Reverdy Ransom on "White Supremacy" and an Upcoming Boxing Match Between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries


Anarchist Emma Goldman Derides Patriotism as a "Menace to Liberty"

Union Activist Rose Schneiderman on the Deaths of 146 Workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Mrs. D. H. Bishop Offers a Harrowing Eyewitness Account of the Titanic's Last Hours

Henry Ford Describes the Bonus He Has Provided His Workers and Its Intended Effects on Their Private Lives

President Woodrow Wilson Requests a Declaration of War Against Germany

Carrie Chapman Catt Urges the U. S. Congress to Make One "Last, Hard Fight" for Suffrage

President Woodrow Wilson Enumerates the "Fourteen Points" That Will Ensure World Peace and "Justice to All Peoples and Nationalities"

Ambassador James W. Gerard Encourages German Americans to Be Loyal to the United States — or Else

Socialist Leader Eugene V. Debs Defends Himself in Court Against Charges of "Disloyalty" and "Sedition"

The Reverend Dr. Anna Howard Shaw Beseeches Americans to Accept President Wilson's Proposal for a "League of Nations"

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Rejects the League and Its "Mongrel Banner"

New York Governor Alfred E. Smith Assails the "Contemptible" Publishing Tycoon William Randolph Hearst


Evangelical Preacher Billy Sunday Excoriates Alcohol as "God's Worst Enemy"

Will Rogers Skewers Both the "Wets" and the "Drys" in the Prohibition Debate

Attorney Edward Prindeville Demands Imprisonment for Eight Chicago White Sox Players Who Intentionally Lost the 1919 World Series

Helen Keller Emphatically Endorses Communism and the Russian Revolution

Margaret Sanger Promotes Birth Control as an "Ethical Necessity for Humanity"

President Warren G. Harding Marvels at the "Majesty" of Yellowstone National Park

Black Leader Marcus Garvey Finds Common Ground with the Ku Klux Klan

Maud Ballington Booth Expresses Her Belief That No Prisoner Is "Beyond Hope"

Defense Attorney Clarence Darrow Implores the Court to Spare the Lives of Two Young Murderers

William Jennings Bryan Scoffs at Darwin's Theory of Evolution

Defense Attorney Dudley Field Malone Argues That Both "Theology and Science" Should Be Taught in Public Schools

Nicola Sacco, Before His Execution, Restates His Innocence

Al "Scarface" Capone Bids Farewell to Chicago and Laments Being Unappreciated for Showing Citizens a "Good Time"

Republican Presidential Candidate Herbert Hoover Predicts the "Abolition of Poverty" in the United States


Oscar Ameringer Describes Intolerable Suffering Throughout the United States as a Result of the Great Depression

justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, on His Ninetieth Birthday, Offers Profound Advice on Life and Death

Notre Dame President the Reverend Father Charles L. O'Donnell Eulogizes the Legendary Football Coach Knute Rockne

Walter W. Waters, Leader of the "Bonus Expeditionary Forces," Rallies Americans Against President Herbert Hoover

Newly Elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt Gives Inspiration and Courage to a Nation Overwhelmed by Poverty and Anxiety

Joseph Strauss, Engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge, Celebrates the Bridge as a Symbol of "New Hopes and New Aspirations"

Mary McLeod Bethune Commemorates the Sacrifices and Achievements of African American Women Over the Past 100 Years

Populist Senator Huey P. Long Advances His "Share Our Wealth" Plan to Make "Every Man a King"

Radio Broadcaster Herb Morrison Reports Live as the Hindenburg Explodes and Crashes to the Ground

Union Leader John L. Lewis Excoriates Big Business for Its "Brutality and Oppression" Against Organized Labor

Orson Welles Tries to Assure Terrified Listeners That They Are Not Being Attacked by Martians

Baseball Great Lou Gehrig, Suffering from a Fatal Disease, Thanks His Fans and Considers Himself the "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth"


CBS Newsman Edward R. Murrow Describes Nazi Air Attacks on the City of London

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Tries to Convince a Skeptical Nation

Why It Must Defend the World Against Nazism

Legendary Composer Duke Ellington Exalts the Artistic, Intellectual, and Spiritual Contributions Made by African Americans

Famed Pilot Charles Lindbergh Argues That the United States Would

Meet with "Defeat and Failure" Against the German Army

journalist Dorothy Thompson Imagines the Horror of a World Controlled by Adolf Hitler

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Requests from Congress a Declaration of War Against Japan

Nobel Laureate Pearl Buck Contends That to Defeat Fascism Abroad, Americans Must Fight for Equality at Home

General Dwight D. Eisenhower Drafts a Message of Apology for His Failure at D-Day

General Eisenhower Issues His "Order of the Day" to the Men Who

Will Storm the Beaches of Normandy

General George S. Patton Tells His Troops That War Is the "Most

Magnificent Competition in Which a Human Being Can Indulge"

President Harry S. Truman Addresses a Nation Grief-Stricken by the

Death of Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Truman Announces That an Atomic Bomb-the Largest

Bomb Ever Used in the History of Warfare-Has Been Dropped on Japan

General Douglas MacArthur Offers Words of Peace After Japan Signs the Official Declaration of Surrender

J. Robert Oppenheimer, Creator of the Atomic Bomb, Beseeches His Colleagues Not to Forget Morality in Their Pursuit of Science

Robert H. Jackson Demands a Verdict of Guilty for the Nazi Leaders on Trial at Nuremberg

Holocaust Survivor Hadassah Rosensaft Describes the Day She Was Liberated from a Nazi Extermination Camp

Zionist Leader Abba Hillel Silver Implores the United Nations to Authorize the Creation of a Homeland for Jews in Palestine

Secretary of State George Marshall Announces a Plan to Save War-Ravaged Europe from Descending into "Chaos"

World-Renowned Performer Paul Robeson Adamantly Defends His Love for the Soviet Union and Its Government

Major-League Baseball Player Jackie Robinson Appears Before the House Un-American Activities Committee to Comment on Robeson's Remarks


Senator Joseph McCarthy Launches a "Final, All-Out Battle" Against Communist Sympathizers in the United States

Senator Margaret Chase Smith Warns Against Those Who Use "Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear [Tactics]" for Political Gain

Nobel Laureate William Faulkner Expresses His Heartfelt Belief That "Man Will Not Merely Endure: He Will Prevail"

President Harry S. Truman Defends Sending Troops to Korea and Firing General Douglas MacArthur

General MacArthur Explains His Actions in the Korean War and Refutes Charges of Being a "Warmonger"

Democratic Governor Adlai Stevenson Reminds Members of His Party of All That They Have Accomplished in the Past Twenty Years

Vice Presidential Candidate Richard M. Nixon Confronts Allegations That He Used Campaign Funds for His Personal Gain

John W. Davis Contends That "Separate but Equal" Is a Matter for the Legislature, Not the Courts, to Decide

NAACP Attorney Thurgood Marshall Argues That "Separate but Equal" Schools and Other Institutions Are Unconstitutional

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt Addresses the Question: "Hasn't the United Nations Failed?"

Environmentalist Rachel Carson Muses on the "Exceeding Beauty of the Earth" and Its Effect on the Human Spirit

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright Encourages His Students to Create Buildings That Are "Beneficial to Humankind"

Homer Hickam Relates How Sputnik Inspired Him to Become a Rocket Engineer for NASA

Jack Kerouac, in a Rare Public Appearance, Describes What the "Beat Generation" Is — and Is Not

Poet Carl Sandburg, Before a joint Session of Congress, Honors Abraham Lincoln on the 150th Anniversary of His Birth

Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi Orders His Players to "Make Any Sacrifice to Win"


Dwight D. Eisenhower Ends His Presidency with a Heartfelt Message of Peace and a Warning About the Growing "Military Establishment" in America

President John F. Kennedy Summons the Nation and the World to join Together in the Fight Against "Tyranny, Poverty, Disease, and War"

President John F. Kennedy Informs Americans of the Installation of Nuclear Missiles in Cuba — a "Reckless and Provocative Threat to World Peace"

Alabama Governor George Wallace Promises His State: "Segregation Now! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!"

Standing in Front of the Berlin Wall, President John F. Kennedy Reminds the World of the "Failures of Communism"

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Electrifies a Nation with His Call for an End to Segregation and Racial Discrimination

Dr. King Eulogizes Four Little Black Girls Murdered by the Ku Klux Klan

Malcolm X Scoffs at Dr. King's Pacifism, Declaring: "There's No Such Thing as a Nonviolent Revolution"

President John F. Kennedy Pays Tribute to the Poet Robert Frost and All of America's Writers and Artists

Cardinal Richard Cushing Offers a Final Prayer for President John F. Kennedy, Slain by an Assassin's Bullet

President Lyndon Johnson Orders "Air Action" Against North Vietnam After U.S. Destroyers Are Attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin

Senator Barry Goldwater Exclaims at the 1964 Republican Convention That "Extremism in the Defense of Liberty Is No Vice"

Berkeley University Student Mario Savio Criticizes the School Adrministration's Attempts to Stifle Free Speech

President Lyndon Johnson Envisions Transforming America into a "Great Society" Free of Poverty, Crime, and Racism

President Johnson Makes an Impassioned Plea to Congress to Pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover Explains Why Only "Clean Cut" Men (and No "Beatniks") Can Serve in the FBI

President Lyndon Johnson Outlines the "First Steps" to Limiting the War in Vietnam and Makes a Stunning Personal Announcement to the American People

Labor Leader Cesar Chavez, Recovering from a Three-Week Fast, Explains to His Followers Why "Sacrifice" Is Integral to Their Struggle

Robert F. Kennedy Calms a Mostly Black Crowd of 1,000 After Informing Them That Martin Luther King Jr. Has just Been Assassinated

Two Months Later, Robert F. Kennedy Is Killed by an Assassin's Bullet and Is Eulogized by His Younger Brother, Senator Ted Kennedy

Crew Members of the Apollo 8 Spacecraft Offer a Christmas Eve Message of Peace and Hope to a Nation Reeling from Social and Political Turmoil

Congresswoman Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm Demands That the United States Spends Its Resources on "People and Peace, Not Profits and War"

Wellesley Graduate Hillary Diane Rodham Defends Her Generation's Use of "Constructive Protest" to Create Social Change

Vice President Spiro Agnew Blasts the "Effete Corps of Impudent Snobs" and "Professional Anarchists" Who Oppose the War in Vietnam

Betty Friedan Explains Why the Feminist Movement Is Imperative Not Only for Women, But for Men As Well


Herbert L. Carter Describes in Graphic Detail His Eyewitness Account of the Atrocities Committed at My Lai

Twenty-eight-Year-Old Veteran and War Hero John Kerry Asks the U.S. Senate "Where Are the Leaders" to End This "Barbaric War" in Vietnam?

TV Reporter Dorothy Fuldheim, Who Covered the Kent State Shootings, Responds to Critics of Her "Pro-Student" Sympathies

Inmate L. D. Barkley Reads Aloud the Prisoners' Demands During a Hostage Crisis in New York State's Attica Prison

Twenty-five-Year-Old Attorney Sarah Weddington Argues Before the U.S. Supreme Court Why Abortions Should Be Legal Throughout America

Actress Jane Fonda Broadcasts Pro-Communist Radio Messages in Hanoi to Demoralize American Servicemen Fighting in Vietnam

President Richard M. Nixon Announces a Cease-Fire Between the U.S. Military and the North Vietnamese

Pat Simon, the Mother of a Young Soldier Killed in the Vietnam War, Asks That Amnesty Be Granted to All Draft Resisters

Representative Barbara Jordan Argues for the Impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon

President Nixon Bids an Emotional Farewell to His Staff

President Gerald R. Ford Explains His Motivations for Pardoning Richard M. Nixon

Astronomer Carl Sagan Discusses the Implications of Finding Life on Other Planets

The Message (Recorded by President Jimmy Carter) Enclosed in the Voyager I and Voyager II Spacecrafts

Native American Activist Leonard Peltier, on Trial for Murder, Denounces the judge as a "Member of the White Racist American Establishment"

Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer Reflects on the Role of Stories and Literature to "Uplift the Spirit"

Conservative Leader Phyllis Schlafly Denounces the Women's Movement as Incompatible with a "Successful Family Life and Motherhood"

President Jimmy Carter Addresses the "Crisis of Confidence" Affecting the "Heart and Soul and Spirit" of the Nation


Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan Vows a "National Crusade to Make America Great Again"

Dr. Rayna Green, Cherokee, Offers a "Modest Proposal" for a "Museum of the Plains White Person"

UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick Excoriates the Soviet Union for Shooting Down a Passenger Plane, Killing Everyone On Board

Eleven-Year-Old "Ambassador of Peace" Samantha Smith Shares Her Vision of the Future

New York Governor Mario Cuomo Challenges President Reagan's Portrayal of America as a "Shining City on a Hill"

Susan Baker of the PMRC Recommends Putting Warning Labels on Records with "Sexually Explicit and Violent" Rock Lyrics

Musician Frank Zappa Dismisses the PMRC's Proposal as an "Ill-Conceived Piece of Nonsense"

Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel Criticizes President Reagan at the White House for Planning to Visit a German Cemetery Where Nazi Officers Are Buried

President Ronald Reagan Honors the Memory of the Seven Astronauts Killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion

Corporate Raider Ivan Boesky Encourages Graduating Business Students to "Seek Wealth" in a "Virtuous and Honest Way"

An Unrepentent Oliver North Defends His Role in the Iran-Contra Scandal and Blames Congress for Its "Fickle, Vacillating" Foreign Policy

The Reverend Jesse Jackson Rallies All Americans-Particularly the Most Disadvantaged — to "Keep Hope Alive!"

Ryan White Relates the Prejudices and Hatred He Has Endured Since Being Diagnosed with AIDS

Patricia Godley, a Former Drug Addict, Stands Before a Town Han Meeting on Drug Abuse and Implores: "Make Me Know I'm Worth Fighting For"


Student Dissident Shen Tong Offers a Firsthand Account of the Violent Crackdown in Tiananmen Square, China

President George Bush Announces the Allied Air Attack on Saddam Hussein's Forces in Iraq and Kuwait

Judge Clarence Thomas Vehemently Denies Charges of Sexual Harassment Made by Former Employee Anita Hill

Anita Hill Describes judge Thomas's Sexual Advances Toward Her in Lurid Detail

The Reverend Cecil L. Murray, During the L.A. Riots, Implores His Parishioners to Find Faith and Refrain from Violence

Senator Daniel Inouye Pays Tribute to the Courage and Patriotism of the Highly Decorated 442nd Regiment of Japanese American Soldiers

President Bill Clinton Addresses a Predominantly Black Church on What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Would Say If He Were Alive Today

Barbra Streisand Defends the Role of the Arts — and Actors as Activists — in American Society and Politics

The Reverend Billy Graham, After the Oklahoma City Bombing, Offers a Sermon on the "Mystery of Evil"

Elizabeth Birch Appeals to Members of the Christian Coalition to Find "Common Ground" with Gays and Lesbians

Defense Attorney Johnnie Cochran Enumerates the Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Must Be Found "Not Guilty"

Handgun Control Activist (and Registered Republican) Sarah Brady Speaks to the Democratic National Convention on Gun Violence in America

Famed Actor and NRA Leader Charlton Heston Lashes Out at Those Who Attempt to "Undermine the Second Amendment"

Bill Henderson Laments Society's Increasing Dependence on Computers and Technology

The Original Draft of President Bill Clinton's Apology to the American People for His "Improper Relationship" with Monica Lewinsky

The Speech He Ultimately Gave

Journalist Tom Brokaw Looks Back on the Triumphs and Turmoils of the Twentieth Century — and Looks Ahead to the Challenges and

Possibilities of the Century to Come


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