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Public Speaking and Speeches: Locating Speeches

This guide will assist you with locating the text of various speeches.

Vital Speeches of the Day Database

Website Evaluation

Have you seen the cartoon showing a dog sitting at a computer monitor?  The message:  anyone can post anything they want on the Web! This is a weaknesses and a strength.  It is a strength because the Internet allows everyone to have a voice and it supports the democratic principle of free speech. At the same time, this is a weakness because it means people without qualifications, without knowledge can post information on the Internet. The burden for website evaluation rests with the user.

When reviewing a website and determining whether or not to use the page as a source for your academic assignments, consider these criteria:

Authority-always take time to examine who is behind the website. Questions to ask include: 

  •  Who is the website author?  Is contact information provided?  Are qualifications given?

Objectivity-determine if the website is free from bias.  Consider the following:

  • Is the site promoting a particular perspective on the topic?  Is the information one sided? Who is the intended audience?

Quality-examine the website information and its sources. Look for the following:

  • Is the information presented supported by references and citations? Is the topic discussed thoroughly and completely?

Currency-quality sites are regularly reviewed and updated if necessary.  Be sure a site includes the following: 

  • Date when the site was create and date when last updated.

Domain Name-a site domain provides a clue about the validity of the site.   Check for the domain:

  • Government (.gov) and Education (.edu) sites are usually legitmate as they are associated with reputable institutions.
  • Organization (.org) and Network (.net) sites are sometimes usable, but evaluation is vital as they may be biased.
  • Commerical (.com) sites are often geared toward selling a product or service and are often not good academic sources.

Explore these websites for more information on evaluating websites:

Evaluating Web Pages
(UC Berkeley)

Good, the Bad & the Ugly

ICYouSee: T is for Thinking
(Ithica College)

Speeches Websites

  • American Rhetoric

    Easy-to-use, searchable reference database of more than 5,000 full-text, audio, and video versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, and other recorded media events. Also includes index to and database of full-text transcriptions of the 100 most significant American political speeches of the Twentieth Century.
  • Associated Press Videos
    Contextualizes speeches for you, plays the speech visual and audio, and gives the transcript.
  • American Presidency Project
    The American Presidency Project (APP), non-profit and non-partisan, is the leading source of presidential documents on the internet. Our archives contain 118,881 documents and are growing rapidly. The APP, hosted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been a collaboration between John T. Woolley (UCSB) and Gerhard Peters (Citrus College) since 1999.
  • Douglas: Archives of American Public Address
    Hosted by Northwestern University, this site provides an archive of American speeches ranging from the classic to the obscure. Users may search the archive by time period, speaker, title, or issue. Site also features links for current debates and links to resources for those studying speeches and rhetorical history.
  • Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches from Around the World

    A collection of speeches made by contemporary women including Maya Angelou, Betty Shabazz, Tipper Gore, Ruth Bader Ginzberg, Andrea Dworkin, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and Margaret Thatcher, arranged alphabetically by the speaker.
  • Great Speeches in History

    Full text of important speeches, weighted towards European and American history.
  • Greatest Speeches of the Twentieth Century
    A collection of speeches from the Guardian.
  • History Speeches

    This site has 120 Real Audio complete speeches and audio clips. There is a speech for the day and an archive of the other speeches. African-American and women speakers are included. Each speech has an explanation of its place in history.
  • Iowa Public Radio
    Has stump speeches from Iowa State Fair campaign launches.
  • Online Speech Bank

    Index to and database of 5000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events.
  • Weekly Sift
  • Wikipedia List of Speeches
    Includes those that have gained enough notability in English or in English translation to be explored in Wikipedia. Covering speeches from BC to modern times.

  Recommended Speech Database

Speech Database

Lexis/Nexis Academic- In the Search by Subject or Topic, under News, select Broadcast Transcripts  You'll be able to view television, radio, and political transcripts.



When using Google, try some of these very specific search terms.  See the column to the right for suggestions.