Speeches are examples of the art of oratory, which is almost as old as speech itself. Speeches are a form of communication that adds to the knowledge and wisdom of listeners, or that influences their attitudes or behavior.
Speeches are often given on regular occasions, and for ceremonial or traditional reasons, such as the United States State of the Union Address or the British Queen's Speech; however, particularly in Parliamentary democracies, they can be much less formal and are an essential part of political debate. In other countries they may have a less traditional or ritualised role but are still an effective tool in informing listeners and motivating them to action.
The purpose of the Speeches Portal is to provide one central point to co-ordinate, organise and increase our collection of speeches. Guidelines on the addition, format and proofreading of speeches are available at Speeches Guidelines.
...A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South. Have we no tendency to the latter condition?... Continued
Not all speeches added to this archive are complete, various sources omit portions of speeches, particularly those given before the invention of the internet. In order to improve wikisource if you have access to the complete text of these speeches please add those portions which are omitted, or add (and proof read) the whole text of the speech. All abridged speeches are listed in Category:Abridged speeches.