Voices of Democracy promotes the study of great speeches and debates in U.S. history. The project features the words of those who have defined the country’s guiding principles, debated controversial social and political issues, and shaped the identity and character of the American people. The project aims to foster an understanding of the nation’s principles and history and to promote civic engagement among scholars, teachers, and students.

On this site, you will find authenticated speech texts, scholarly articles with critical analyses of those speeches, curriculum materials designed for undergraduate teachers and students, and lesson plans for high school and middle school teachers. 

The Voices of Democracy publishes an online, refereed, blind-reviewed journal of original scholarship focusing on the study of U.S. oratory. These essays are also included in the Curriculum Units, along with an authenticated text of the speech and other materials.

Voices of Democracy features a growing collection of curriculum units focusing on significant speeches in U.S. history. Those units, which are designed for college-level teachers and students, include a link to lesson plans for teaching the speech at the high school or middle school level. VOD’s curriculum units are organized by Theme, Chronological Period, Speaker, and Author.

Spotlight on Oratory reflects on the historical significance of key speeches for contemporary issues and controversies, or provide tips for educators teaching about particular speeches on the VOD site.


Civil Rights Essay Contest

Voices of Democracy (VOD), in cooperation with the Center for Democratic Deliberation at Penn State and the journal Young Scholars in Writing, is sponsoring an essay contest, “Exploring the Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement.” 

Pope Francis and Dorothy Day

On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis I addressed a joint session…