Happy Presidents’ Day!

If you’re like most in our country, then you’re hunkering down and trying to stay warm during our current deep freeze.

While doing so, take a few minutes to honor the holiday by reading (or listening to) a few presidential speeches.

This post isn’t meant to deify the presidents who have served our nation, but rather, to remind ourselves of their policies during their presidential terms–and how they expressed those policies through their speeches.  We can appreciate George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address, while also remembering that he was a not-reluctant slave owner. We can appreciate  Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, while also remembering his “evolution” regarding slavery, seen here in his 1854 Peoria Speech.

I have included a few of my favorite presidential speeches: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech (his address to Congress during the 1941 State of the Union); Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address to the Nation; and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Special Message to the Congress in 1965–sometimes referred to as the “We Shall Overcome” speech.

You can listen to Roosevelt’s speech (part one and part two), and view the Eisenhower and Johnson speeches below.


Finally, I include the audacious keynote address delivered by Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention before he won the presidency–in fact, before he won the Illinois Senate seat.

Words most certainly have power, don’t they?

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