Vocabulary Lists

Speeches

Herbert Hoover on "Rugged Individualism" (1928)

The son of a blacksmith, Herbert Hoover earned millions through his work as a geologist and mining engineer. While his economic successes led to political positions, he believed that American progress is rooted in the separation of government and business. Here are some words from the October 22, 1928 speech that capped his campaign to become the 31st President.
35 Words

Theodore Roosevelt on "New Nationalism" (1910)

At the dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park in Kansas, former president Theodore Roosevelt used the opportunity to attack the administration of his successor (William H. Taft) and start a campaign for a third term. Here are some words from the August 31, 1910 speech that introduced the philosophy of the Progressive Party.
35 Words

President Carter on "The Crisis of Confidence" (1979)

The clear and present danger to 1970s American way of life was the energy crisis. In response to OPEC reducing its global oil supply, President Carter outlined a conservation plan that included regulating public utilities, installing solar hot water panels on the White House, and requesting that Christmas be celebrated without decorative lights. After years of deprivation, no one seemed willing to listen anymore. Here are some words from the July 15, 1979 speech that aimed to shake the nation out of its malaise.
35 Words

President L.B. Johnson on "The Great Society" (1964)

On May 22, 1964, the graduating students of the University of Michigan were personally asked by the President to join him in a battle to make America great. Here are some of the words used by Lyndon B. Johnson to inspire a commitment to end poverty and injustice.
30 Words

President T. Roosevelt on "The Man with the Muck Rake" (1906)

Learn these words from Roosevelt's April 14, 1906 speech that calls the press to treat its subjects with objective moderation. During his two terms in office, Theodore Roosevelt made the White House the center of news every day, which he facilitated by giving reporters a special room. Coverage was mostly favorable, but when Joseph Pulitzer published accusations of misconduct in the building of the Panama Canal, the President tried to charge him with libel.
35 Words

Ralph Waldo Emerson on "The Young American" (1844)

The son of a minister, divinity school graduate Ralph Waldo Emerson found his calling as a lecturer across the nation. Before live audiences, he presented his thoughts on a wide range of topics, which he often revised for publication. From his February 7, 1844 address to the Mercantile Library Association in Boston, here are some words calling for American leadership. Here are links to our lists for two of Emerson's most well-known essays: Nature, Self-Reliance
35 Words

Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address (1801)

1800 was a bitter election year. The incumbent Federalist president ran against his Democratic-Republican vice-president. John Adams lost, but two rival candidates tied. The House of Representatives decided that Aaron Burr would get the secondary title. On March 4, 1801, in the new capital of Washington D.C., Thomas Jefferson was sworn in as the third president. Here are some of his words urging reconciliation.
25 Words

James Monroe's First Inaugural Address (1817)

Riding on the success of the Democratic-Republicans in concluding the War of 1812, James Monroe won the presidency with a wide margin of electoral votes (183-34). On March 4, 1817, he was sworn in as the fifth president. Here are some of the words that ushered in the Era of Good Feelings.
35 Words

Vocabulary from the Democratic Response to President Trump's First Address to Congress

The Democratic response to President Trump's Address to Congress was delivered from Kentucky by Steve Beshear, the former Governor of that state. Beshear focused on the issue of health care, after President Trump's call to "Repeal and Replace Obamacare" earlier in the evening. Beshear also highlighted what he views as the mistakes President Trump has made in his first 40 days in office. Here are fifteen vocabulary words from Steve Beshear's Democratic response to President Trump. Vocabulary words from President's Trump speech are featured here.
15 Words

Vocabulary from President Trump's First Address to Congress

President Trump delivered his first speech to Congress on February 28, 2017. President Trump outlined wide-ranging goals which emphasized bringing jobs back to America, strengthening the nation's infrastructure and military, and establishing a new healthcare system. Here are fifteen vocabulary words from President Trump's address to Congress. The speech was followed by a response from the Democrats, with fifteen of those words here.
15 Words

Donald Trump Inauguration Address- January 20, 2017

Donald Trump gave his inaugural address on January 20, 2017. Newly sworn-in as President, Trump promised to serve the people of America, and to put America first in weighing all decisions. He also pledged to bring jobs and wealth back to the United States. Here are twenty words from President Trump's inaugural address.
20 Words

President Obama's Farewell Address

President Obama delivered his farewell address on January 10, 2017. The speech detailed what President Obama holds to be the core components that make up American democracy and outlined what he considers to be the continuing threats, located both home and abroad. It was also a speech rich in gratitude, both personal and professional, as President Obama prepares to leave office on January 20, 2017. Here are 28 vocabulary words from the speech.
28 Words

Michelle Obama's final address as First Lady (2017)

On January 6, 2017, in celebration of the National School Counselor of the Year, Michelle Obama gave some words she hopes young Americans will always remember.
30 Words

Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Here are fourteen vocabulary words from the speech that music legend Bob Dylan wrote in anticipation of accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan did not deliver the address himself, but his humor and wit shine throughout the speech, the full text of which can be read here.
14 Words

Nehru's "Tryst with Destiny" Speech

On August 15, 1947, India signed an agreement that granted it s independence from Britain. India had not ruled itself for centuries. After a long and exhausting fight that took decades of diplomatic struggle and protest, India was finally free and Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of the nation. The speech he gave upon India's independence being secured is known as the "Tryst with Destiny" speech. It is justifiably famous as a great speech delivered at a great historic moment. Here are 24 vocabulary words from the speech. The full text of the speech is available here.
24 Words

Michelle Obama's Speech at the 2016 DNC

Many political pundits and speech critics claim that Michelle Obama's speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention was the most powerful and stirring. Here are 50 words that contributed to the power of that speech.
50 Words

History is made in PA: Clinton's DNC Acceptance Speech

Hillary Clinton became the first woman to act as a major party's presidential nominee on July 28, 2016. Her speech was personal and political, both critical of her opponent and a case for why people should vote for her and not against someone else. Here are 50 words from Clinton's acceptance speech.
50 Words

Fear and Loathing in Cleveland: Trump's RNC Acceptance Speech

On the evening of July 21, 2016, Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination with an acceptance speech that appealed to Americans who are determined to take back their country.
50 Words

Graduation Gems, 2016

Not sure what to pack on your journey to a new life? Consider these pearls of wisdom from 2016 commencement speakers, and learn more about the themes of this year's speeches here For more treasures, dig into these lists: 2014, 2015
16 Words

President Obama's Speech at Hiroshima

President Obama spoke in Hiroshima, Japan on May 27, 2016. He is the first president to speak there since the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on the city to end World War II on August 6,1945. In the speech the president explores the human capacity for conflict and destruction and calls for a reduction in nuclear weapons around the world. The transcript of the entire speech can be found here.
29 Words

President Obama's Commencement Address 2016

President Obama gave the commencement address at Rutgers University in New Jersey this year on May 15, 2016. The speech addressed how the country has confronted our political problems with the intelligence we have derived from our educations, which will help us tell the difference between lofty promises with nothing behind them and vows we can keep. Here are twenty seven vocabulary words from President Obama's address.
27 Words

Sheryl Sandberg Commencement Address 2016

Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and the author of the book "Lean In." Here, in a commencement address to the students of the University of California at Berkeley, Sandberg discusses what she has been through and what she has learned, "not from life but from death," in the past year. Here are fourteen vocabulary words from Sandberg's address.
14 Words

Donald Trump Foreign Policy Address

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave his first major foreign policy address on April 27, 2016. Vowing to put "America First," Trump criticized the foreign policy record of President Obama and probable Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as misguided on some issues and ineffective on others. Here are 23 words from the speech. The entire text can be found here.
23 Words

Patrick Henry, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"

Perhaps the ultimate call to arms, Patrick Henry's speech makes a case for the inevitability of the American Revolution. On March 23, 1775 Virginian patriots met at St. John’s Church in Richmond to discuss support for fellow colonists in Massachusetts where Parliament had sent four regiments of troops. Leading the call for Virginian’s to act was Patrick Henry. In proposing that Virginia prepare itself to fight he delivered an emotional speech ending with his immortal words, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
63 Words

State of the Union Address 2016

President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Address on January 12, 2016. The State of the Union is always a speech that covers a wide variety of topics, but for this particular speech, President Obama cast an especially wide net. The address focused on the future of the country -- out beyond his last year in office to the challenges the next president faces. Here are 25 words from President Obama's last State of the Union. A transcript of the entire speech is available here.
25 Words

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