"Give me liberty or give me death!"
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
"I have a dream…."


American speechmakers have changed the course of history with their words. This course provides us with the opportunity to assess the power of those words. As we consider speeches from America's colonial era through the present day, we will:

analyze and evaluate historical speechesconsider and practice the delivery of speecheslearn and implement the secrets of writing powerful speechesprepare a public presentation related to historical speechesand (I hope) experience a speech as a class
We accomplish a lot in these four months of the spring term, but past students have found this course to be varied, engaging, enlightening, and fun. We approach this class as a history class, but some former students have found this class to provide some of the best writing instruction they've ever encountered. I hope and expect that you will as well.

Here is an overview of my plans for the course:

I. Readings (Great Speeches of the 20th Century, Lincoln's Greatest Speech, and various other selections)

Primary documents (speeches from the colonial era on, with focus on 20th century)
Secondary sources (criticism, historical evaluation)


II. Class Discussion

Interpretation
Analysis
Preparation (leading discussions of certain speeches)
15% of term grade


III. Other Graded Work

Writing options (six total options, you must do three) plus one essay required of everyone
Two- to three-page papers on a variety of topics
Reading quizzes on occasion
Potential extra credit opportunities


IV. Final Project

Group effort at preparing and presenting a public presentation
Approximately one day each week will be dedicated to this project
Your contributions will be evaluated and will count as the final exam grade


V. Expectations

Stay current with your reading
Participate in class discussions
Be willing to ask questions, offer opinions, and make mistakes! (mutual respect)
Trust your opinions, take chances, and have fun!
This course will be different from any history course you've taken before, and its success will depend largely upon each of you!