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The editors of this book have tried to gather in a single volume as many as possible of the great speeches that have had an important influence on the growth of American political ideals. Had the limits of their volume permitted, they would have begun with Cromwell and would have traced the growth of our institutions from their English sources. As it is they have begun with the first evidence of alienation from the Mother Country and have followed the story to the close of the Great War. Speeches of much historical importance, such as those that discussed the adoption of the Constitution, have necessarily been omitted. The speeches here included, however, it is believed constitute a series sufficiently complete to give students a more intimate knowledge of our national life and a new appreciation of the sacrifice and labor that produced the American political fabric.
Many teachers maintain that the reading of speeches in a collection can be made more valuable than the prolonged study of one or two orations. A sufficiently large number of selections, they say, permits the instructor to make use of comparative methods of study that are both stimulating and interesting. As pupils read the speeches, the teacher can emphasize, as the welfare of the class seems to demand, historical significance, the ideals of good citizenship, oral expression, rhetorical structure, or the principles of argument and persuasion. It is not unlikely, moreover, that this volume can be used with profit even
by those instructors who prefer to have pupils engage in the detailed study of one or two great speeches rather than undertake a course in comparative reading, for the volume contains material sufficiently diverse to satisfy every taste.
The editors wish to acknowledge with thanks the permission of President Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Otto H. Kahn to print speeches included in this book. The Call to Arms, by H. H. Asquith, was included through permission obtained from The Current History Magazine, published by the New York Times Company. The editors are also indebted to the New York Times Company for permission to print Premier Lloyd George's speech on America's Entrance into the War.