What Is the Most Well Known Speech in American History?

When it comes to iconic speeches in American history, there are plenty to choose from. But one stands out above the rest as the most well-known and influential: Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The Setting

The speech was delivered on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Over 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to demand civil rights and an end to racial discrimination.

The Speech

King’s speech began with a nod to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had been signed exactly 100 years prior. He then went on to describe the continued struggle for equality faced by African Americans:

“But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.”

King’s words were powerful and emotional, and they struck a chord with the thousands of people who had gathered to hear him speak. He used repetition throughout his speech to emphasize his points:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'”

  • “Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. “
  • “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

  • “Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. “

These lines have become some of the most famous in American history, and they continue to inspire generations today.

The Impact

King’s speech was not only a defining moment in American history but also a turning point in the civil rights movement. It helped galvanize support for equal rights legislation and paved the way for significant progress in the decades that followed.


In conclusion, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is the most well-known and influential speech in American history. Its powerful words and themes of equality and justice continue to resonate with people around the world, making it a timeless piece of American history.