Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | April 27, 2007

Great speeches

Every day this week, The Guardian newspaper is including a copy of one of the ‘Great Speeches of the 20th Century’. You can also catch up with them online.

I have just read through Franklin D Roosevelt’s speech from his presidential inauguration on 4 March 1933 and it is an amazing piece of word-crafting. He was addressing the United States when the nation was on its knees with an depressed economy that was still failing and had left millions unemployed and hungry. It was this speech which birthed the now famous phrase ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…’

As well as the words of the speech itself, there is a powerful introduction by chancellor Gordon Brown, part of which is worth quoting here:

“Do words have power? It was, as Franklin D Roosevelt said ” a stricken nation” that he was addressing for the first time as president… But as his powerful cadences reverberated across the vast throng and on radio across a vast continental expanse, this man who could not walk unaided lifted a great and prostrate nation to its feet.”

Do words have power? Absolutely!



  1. And if the words of a United States president had that much power, how much more the Word of God!!

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