Back Free copies of American Speeches now available for U.S. high school teachers

Last year, Library of America was able to send free copies of its title The Essential Hamilton to secondary school teachers of history and social studies in all fifty states.

This year, we are able to offer—again, thanks to the generosity of our members and donors, and again, free of charge—a limited number of copies of American Speeches: Political Oratory from Patrick Henry to Barack Obama to high school history teachers, social studies teachers, and speech and debate coaches across the country.

Edited and with an introduction by historian and former presidential speechwriter Ted Widmer, American Speeches collects forty-seven unabridged speeches delivered by thirty-two American public figures from the Revolutionary era to the twenty-first century. It includes speeches by Patrick Henry (“give me liberty, or give me death!”) and George Washington; four oratorical masterpieces by Abraham Lincoln; wartime addresses by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower; John F. Kennedy’s inspiring inaugural address; and Ronald Reagan’s clarion call at the Brandenburg Gate. Impassioned speeches by Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King, Jr., bring to life America’s continuing struggle to realize the promise of equality and justice for all.

How to receive your copy of American Speeches:

• Send an email from your school (or school district) email address to

• Indicate the name of the school where you teach.

• Tell us the grade level(s) and subject(s) you teach, and/or whether you are a speech and debate coach.

• Include your mailing address (home addresses are okay; U.S. addresses only).

Please note: Supplies are limited. Requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and we can only send one copy to each teacher.

We’re thrilled to be able to continue this program for another year—and to provide America’s greatest political oratory, our shared heritage as citizens, free of charge to teachers throughout the United States.

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