Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 1.djvu/29

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INTRODUCTION


the orator, but obtains an epitome of the history of the times. As each important speech is virtually a product of the entire life of the speaker, so the speeches delivered at great crises in national history have been products of the conditions that called them forth. Nowhere is so much information crowded into the same number of words as in a memorable speech. The greatest of all the orations that have come down to us from the past is the one by Demosthenes, known as "The Oration on the Crown," which is included in the volume on Greece in this series. It possesses every requisite. It is persuasive; it is argumentative, and the arguments are so skilfully arranged as to produce the greatest effect; it is clear in statement; it is eloquent and contains passages that can not be surpassed in invective; and it abounds in definitions and distinctions which are as valuable to-day as when they were uttered.

The reader will note the appeal which Demosthenes made to the sense of justice, to which all arguments should be addressed. He called

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