Can You Identify These Famous Speeches From a Single Quote?



By: Bambi Turner

7 Min Quiz

Image: Image_Source_ / Cultura / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Do you remember who brought people of all races together with a speech about his big dream, or which politician addressed a somber nation after the attack on Pearl Harbor? Remember who demanded that the Berlin Wall come down, declared he was prepared to die for equality or rallied the troops regarding blood, sweat and tears? See how many famous speeches you can identify with this quiz!

There's a reason speeches are used to mark big occasions, from simple ceremonies like weddings or graduations to major events like political debates, declarations of war or global tragedies. It's because you just can't understate the effect that a great orator speaking just the right words can have on morale, motivation, trust and confidence. Many have argued that JFK beat Richard Nixon into the White House thanks to his oratory prowess, or that iconic presidential speeches helped the nation recover faster after the horrors of Pearl Harbor, September 11th or the Challenger disaster.

While great speeches are often remembered for only a single, powerful quote, they are much more than one profound line. They represent not only the work of the writer but also his or her oratory talent, as well as the setting and scene in which the speech took place.  Take our quizzes to see how many of these famous addresses you can identify using only a single quote!

"One day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech became the symbol of the Civil Rights movement. King spoke in front of a quarter of a million people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963.


"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Abraham Lincoln delivered his iconic Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1963 at a dedication for Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg. Speaking just months after the Union defeated the Confederacy in the surrounding fields, Lincoln's mention of four score and seven years ago referred to the signing of the Declaration of Independence 87 years earlier.


"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Just a few weeks after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Fight on the Beaches" speech to Parliament. The June 4, 1940 address took place in the early days of WWII, and was designed to prepare Parliament for the major efforts that would be required to defeat Germany.


"Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India’s independence."

Mahatma Gandhi delivered his famous Quit India speech on Aug. 8, 1942. Speaking to a crowd at Gowalia Tank Maidan Park in Bombay, he encouraged non-violent resistance in his efforts to see India free from British rule.


"The audacity of hope! That is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead."

Then Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. He later used "The Audacity of Hope" as the title for his bestselling 2006 book.


"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"

On Jan. 28, 1986, America watched as the Challenger space shuttle exploded, killing all on board. That night, President Ronald Reagan quoted poet John Magee's "High Flight" when describing the event. It was the perfect way to soothe the emotions of an aching public.


"The foundation stone of national life is, and ever must be, the high individual character of the average citizen."

On April 14, 1906, Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech as the cornerstone laying ceremony for the House of Representatives. He took the chance to call out muck-rakers, criticizing journalists for focusing on the bad rather than the good. The term muck-raker comes from the novel "Pilgrim's Progress."


"In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country."

Three months after the Treaty of Paris put an end to the American Revolution, George Washington issued an emotional resignation speech. Delivered to the Continental Congress on Dec. 23, 1783, Washington's words marked the end of his role as Commander-In-Chief and his return to civilian life.


"Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Ronald Reagan's June 12, 1987 remarks at the Bradenburg Gate marked a new relationship between east and west. Also known as the Berlin Wall speech, Reagan's remarks encouraged Secretary of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev to finally bring down the wall dividing the city of Berlin.


"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Speaking at the Second Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry worked hard to convince the Convention to send troops to fight in the American Revolutionary War. A year after this March 23, 1775 address, Henry became governor of Virginia.


"For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

Even in the face of a terrible diagnosis, baseball legend Lou Gehrig was a class act. He delivered this speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 to announce his resignation from baseball due to ALS.


"Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever."

Chief Joseph led his tribe the Nez Perce nearly 1,400 miles over three months in an attempt to reach Canada. Just 40 miles short of the border, he surrendered on Oct. 5, 1877 to save his surviving people.


"And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."

One of the youngest men ever to take the presidency, John F. Kennedy brought a new hope to the White House. In his Jan. 20, 1961 inauguration speech, he encouraged Americans to take pride in public service by asking themselves what they would do for their country.


"You profess to believe, that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,' and hath commanded all men everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate ... all men whose skins are not colored like your own.

On July 5, 1852, civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass delivered a scathing speech to the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society. Citing Independence Day celebrations the day before, he asked his audience to consider how festivities related to liberty and freedom appeared to slaves.


"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. "

On Sept. 11, 2011, the United States experienced one the worst terrorist attacks in American history. Speaking from the Oval Office, President George W. Bush attacked a scared and angry nation, promising swift retribution and the full might of the U.S. military to defend its people.


"I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that?"

Former slave and activist Sojourner Truth gave a powerful speech at the Akron, Ohio Women's Convention on May 29, 1851. While those around her were focused largely on women's rights, Truth turned the tables, pointing out that equality requires a focus on both race and gender, not one or the other.


"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

When Franklin Roosevelt became president for the first of his terms, the nation was stuck in the depths of the Great Depression. Speaking from the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1933, Roosevelt promised to provide jobs -- even if it meant declaring a national emergency to force Congress into action.


"I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."

William Faulkner was known for his writing, not his oratory skills, but he still managed to deliver one of the most celebrated Nobel Prize speeches in history. Accepting the award for his contributions to literature on Dec. 10, 1950, Faulkner delivered a powerful speech that has since been referred to as "The Writer's Duty."


"Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth."

As one of the only five star generals in history, General Douglas MacArthur knows a thing or two about motivating troops. His speech regarding duty, honor and country to the Corps of Cadets at West Point is still used as a rallying cry more than half a century after his 1962 address.


"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Winston Churchill became the British prime minister just as Britain was getting forced into WWII. In the third of a series of speeches given before Parliament in 1940, Churchill uttered these unforgettable words to keep Parliament motivated for the challenges ahead, letting them know that they would be remembered for taking on the task of defeating Nazi Germany.


"Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked."

It was a somber President Franklin D. Roosevelt who delivered his Pearl Harbor speech on Dec. 8, 1941. A day after Japan bombed an American base in Hawaii, Roosevelt called Congress to action. Just a half an hour after his speech was complete, Congress had declared war on Japan.


"To appreciate the importance of fitting every human soul for independent action, think for a moment of the immeasurable solitude of self."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton spent decades fighting for women's rights. After 40 years of activism, Stanton retired with this 1892 speech known as the "Solitude of Self."


"Only this power, only the Soviets of Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, can solve the great question of the land in a non-bureaucratic way and not in the interests of the land owners."

Russia was ripe for revolution in the 1910s, and Vladimir Lenin was the leader people were looking for. His April 12, 1917 speech to a Meeting of Soldiers of the Izmailovsky Regime directed them to deliver all power to the Soviets rather than the police, army or bureaucracy.


“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

On May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill delivered his very first speech to Parliament. The newly elected British prime minister chose his words to reduce the fear of a pending world war or an invasion by Nazi Germany.


"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all people will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. "

Nelson Mandela was put on trial before the Supreme Court of Africa in the '60s for his efforts against apartheid and poverty. Even with a potential death sentence on the line, Mandela declared himself prepared to die for the cause of equality.


"We shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people."

On Aug. 19, 1588, as the Spanish Armada steamed toward Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth donned her armor and headed out to speak to her troops. Her speech to the troops at Tillbury revealed that the legendary monarch was ready and willing to fight alongside her people to preserve her country.


"And do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard... because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win."

On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared that the U.S. chooses "to go to the moon." Though Kennedy wouldn't live to see it, Americans stepped foot on the moon just seven short years later.


"What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in."

As the horrors of WWI drew to a close, Woodrow Wilson gave a speech known as the Fourteen Points. Delivered to Congress on Jan. 8, 1918, the iconic speech outlined the steps Wilson declared were necessary to ensure global peace.


"And now, O men who have condemned me, I would fain prophesy to you; for I am about to die, and that is the hour in which men are gifted with prophetic power."

Put onto paper by Plato, this speech was delivered at the trial of Socrates in 399 BC. The great thinker was put to death for his refusal to believe in the gods, and also for corrupting the young.


"The future welfare of our nation depends upon the way in which we can combine in our men -- in our young men --- decency and strength."

Delivered at a meeting of the Society of the Holy Name of Brooklyn and Long Island, this speech comes from Theodore Roosevelt. He spoke these words on Aug. 16, 1903, encouraging a return to strength and decency among youth to ensure the success of society.


"The wind of change is blowing through this continent, and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact."

Harold MacMillan became prime minister of the UK at an interesting time. In this speech to the South African Parliament on Feb. 3, 1960, McMillan made it known that he would not interfere with the move toward independence of Britain's former or current colonies.


"All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'"

The construction of the Berlin Wall sent the Cold War into overdrive in 1961. Two years later on June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered this speech to show U.S. support for West Germany by identifying himself as a citizen of Berlin.


"These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent."

The D-Day invasion turned the tide of WWII as troops stormed the beaches at Normandy. President Ronald Reagan commemorated the brave men who fought on D-Day at a June 6, 1984 ceremony at Pont du Hoc.


"So here I stand.... one girl among many.I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys. I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard."

On July 12, 2013 -- her 16th birthday -- Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai stood before the United Nations and gave a speech asking them to fight for education and women's rights. Shot in the head by the Taliban nine months before, Malala went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.


"It was a little cocker spaniel and white, spotted, and our little girl Tricia ... named it Checkers ... and I just want to say this ... we are going to keep it."

In a televised Sept. 23, 1952 speech, then vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon went on the air to defend himself against accusations of funding fraud. This address is sometimes called the Checkers speech because Nixon boldly declared that one gift he had received that he refused to return was a dog named Checkers.


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