Monday, 02 February 2004
As a response of sorts to Steven Den Beste's Essential Library, which
is a series of recent op-ed pieces reflecting his political views,
I've assembled a collection that should (in my opinion) score
somewhat higher on anyone's "essential" reading list.
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail,"
16 April 1963.
Arrested for leading a protest march without a permit, King and his
followers were condemned by local clergymen for a protest that was, in
their view, "unwise and untimely." King's response, composed in his cell
on scraps of paper, is a classic reminder of why we celebrate his birth.
Winston Churchill, Address to the
House of Commons
, 4 June 1940. Holland and Belgium knocked out of the
war. France teetering on the brink of surrender. The British forced to
evacuate at Dunkirk, leaving 68,000 men behind. With the Soviets and
Americans yet to enter the conflict, the future of Great Britain had never
looked so grim; Churchill's speech, under the circumstances, is the
greatest roar of defiance imaginable.
Abraham Lincoln, Letter to Horace Greeley
, 22 August 1862; Gettysburg Address
, 19 November 1863; Second Inaugural Address
, 4 March 1865. Lincoln's wartime
speeches and writings are masterworks of eloquence and brevity; with a
handful of words he dedicates himself—and the nation—to
preserving the Union and the very concept of democracy.
Ronald Reagan, "Remarks
at the Brandenburg Gate,"
12 June 1987; John F. Kennedy, "Remarks in the
Rudolph Wilde Platz,"
26 June 1963. Reagan and Kennedy are the
modern-day patron saints of their respective political parties, and
their speeches marked the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. Against the
backdrop of Communism's stark admission of failure, both men spoke in
passionate defense of freedom.
Thomas Jefferson et al., the Declaration of
, 4 July 1776. History records the story of America
in her eternal struggle to honor these words.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 2:55 am. comments.