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Quiz about Great Speeches of the 20th Century
Quiz about Great Speeches of the 20th Century

Great Speeches of the 20th Century Quiz


Join me for a trip through the 20th century, as heard through the words of various American speakers. You will be given excerpts from 15 speeches, and asked to identify the speaker.

A multiple-choice quiz by chessart. Estimated time: 11 mins.
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Author
chessart
Time
11 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
113,847
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
7 / 15
Plays
2070
- -
Question 1 of 15
1. From 1910: "Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent that those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others." Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. From 1918: "Gentlemen, you have heard the report of my speech at Canton on June 16, and I submit that there is not a word in that speech to warrant the charges set out in the indictment. I admit having delivered the speech. I admit the accuracy of the speech in all of its main features as reported in this proceeding. In what I had to say there my purpose was to have the people understand something about the social system in which we live and to prepare them to change this system by perfectly peaceable and orderly means into what I, as a socialist, conceive to be real democracy." Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. From the "Roaring Twenties": "I have often said that I wish the wets would become so soused they would be speechless and couldn't say anything, and that the drys would become so perfect that the Lord would come down and take them away from here--and that would leave the country to the rest of us who are tired of listening to both of them." Hint


Question 4 of 15
4. From 1934: "We do not propose a division of wealth, but we propose to limit poverty that we will allow to be inflicted upon any man's family. We will not say we are going to try to guarantee any equality, or $15,000 to a family. No, but we do say that one-third of the average is low enough for any one family to hold, that there should be a guarantee of a family wealth of around $5,000--enough for a home, an automobile, a radio, and the ordinary conveniences, and the opportuniy to educate their children." Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. From 1944: "All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self-respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men, and all real men like to fight. When you here--every one of you--were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the big-league ballplayer, and the all-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser." Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. Who spoke out against McCarthyism on June 1, 1950, saying, "The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as communists or fascists by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others." Hint


Question 7 of 15
7. From 1950: "I believe that man will not merely endure: He will prevail: He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's and writer's duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail." Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. From 1951: "I am closing my fifty-two years of military service. When I joined the Army even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day, which proclaimed most proudly that 'Old soldiers never die, they just fade away'."

Answer: (2 words, or just surname.)
Question 9 of 15
9. From 1953: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in that final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending its money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children." Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. From 1959: "I'm going to find thirty-six men who have the pride to make any sacrifice to win. There are such men. If they're not here, I'll get them. If you are not one, if you don't want to play, you might as well leave right now." Hint


Question 11 of 15
11. From 1963: "The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world." Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. From 1968: "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Answer: (4 words, 3 words, or just surname)
Question 13 of 15
13. From 1968: "We have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote, 'In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'" Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. From 1974: "If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here, then perhaps that eighteenth-century Constitution should be abandoned to a twentieth-century paper shredder. Has the president committed offenses and planned and directed and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That is the question." Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. Who concluded his acceptance speech for the 1978 Nobel Prize for literature with these inspiring words: "The pessimism of the creative person is not decadence but a mighty passion for the redemption of man. While the poet entertains, he continues to search for eternal truths, for the essence of being. In his own fashion he tries to solve the riddle of time and change, to find an answer to suffering, to reveal love in the very abyss of cruelty and injustice. Strange as these words may sound, I often play with the idea that when all the social theories collapse and wars and revolutions leave humanity in utter gloom, the poet - whom Plato banned from his Republic - may rise up and save us all." Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. From 1910: "Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent that those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others."

Answer: Emma Goldman

The anarchist Emma Goldman was imprisoned three times for her outspoken stance on labor issues, birth control, and pacifism. She was deported in 1919 and ultimately settled in England. Today many recognize that Goldman's terminology was flawed; what she was really inveighing against was not "patriotism", but rather "nationalism".
2. From 1918: "Gentlemen, you have heard the report of my speech at Canton on June 16, and I submit that there is not a word in that speech to warrant the charges set out in the indictment. I admit having delivered the speech. I admit the accuracy of the speech in all of its main features as reported in this proceeding. In what I had to say there my purpose was to have the people understand something about the social system in which we live and to prepare them to change this system by perfectly peaceable and orderly means into what I, as a socialist, conceive to be real democracy."

Answer: Eugene V. Debs

Debs was addressing the jury that was hearing his trial for violating the Espionage and Sedition Acts for a speech he gave against the war in Canton, Ohio, in June. He was convicted and served two years of a ten-year sentence, before being pardoned by Warren Harding in 1921.
3. From the "Roaring Twenties": "I have often said that I wish the wets would become so soused they would be speechless and couldn't say anything, and that the drys would become so perfect that the Lord would come down and take them away from here--and that would leave the country to the rest of us who are tired of listening to both of them."

Answer: Will Rogers

Rogers preferred to point out the silliness of whatever national debate was raging, rather than argue a particular political position. Sort of the Bill Maher of his day.
4. From 1934: "We do not propose a division of wealth, but we propose to limit poverty that we will allow to be inflicted upon any man's family. We will not say we are going to try to guarantee any equality, or $15,000 to a family. No, but we do say that one-third of the average is low enough for any one family to hold, that there should be a guarantee of a family wealth of around $5,000--enough for a home, an automobile, a radio, and the ordinary conveniences, and the opportuniy to educate their children."

Answer: Huey P. Long

From his first national radio broadcast on February 23, 1934, in which he explained his "Share Our Wealth" society, which had the motto "Every Man a King". The Share Our Wealth society had 7 million members by September of 1935, and Long planned to challenge Roosevelt for the Presidency the following year. However, Long was assassinated in the Louisiana Statehouse on September 8, 1935.
5. From 1944: "All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self-respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men, and all real men like to fight. When you here--every one of you--were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the big-league ballplayer, and the all-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser."

Answer: George S. Patton

Rallying the troops in England prior to D-Day. George C. Scott delivered a sanitized version of the speech in the classic 1970 film "Patton".
6. Who spoke out against McCarthyism on June 1, 1950, saying, "The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as communists or fascists by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others."

Answer: Margaret Chase Smith

America's only female Senator spoke out forcefully on the Senate floor, but it was not until December of 1954, four and a half long years later, that the Senate finally censured McCarthy.
7. From 1950: "I believe that man will not merely endure: He will prevail: He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's and writer's duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

Answer: William Faulkner

From Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, delivered Decmeber 10, 1950, and hailed as one of the finest Nobel acceptance speeches ever given. Interestingly, the speech received only polite applause at the time, because it was virtually unintelligible due to a combination of Faulkner's Southern accent, his shyness, and his hungover condition.

However, when published in the newspaper the following day, it received the acclaim it deserved.
8. From 1951: "I am closing my fifty-two years of military service. When I joined the Army even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day, which proclaimed most proudly that 'Old soldiers never die, they just fade away'."

Answer: Douglas MacArthur

Addressing a joint session of Congress on April 19, 1951, eight days after President Truman had relieved him of command for insubordination.
9. From 1953: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in that final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending its money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children."

Answer: Dwight D. Eisenhower

Spoken in April of 1953, near the start of his Presidency. Eisenhower would echo those sentiments in his farewell address eight years later, when he warned against the country's growing "military-industrial complex".
10. From 1959: "I'm going to find thirty-six men who have the pride to make any sacrifice to win. There are such men. If they're not here, I'll get them. If you are not one, if you don't want to play, you might as well leave right now."

Answer: Vince Lombardi

Spoken to his players on September 27, 1959, before their first game under their new head coach Lombardi. His tone sounds curiously similar to Patton's, doesn't it?
11. From 1963: "The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world."

Answer: John F. Kennedy

Spoken on October 26, 1963, at a small ceremony at Amherst College in honor of the poet Robert Frost. Kennedy took the opportunity to offer one of the most thoughtful tributes ever spoken by a politician on the place and purpose of the artist in society. He was assassinated less than a month later.
12. From 1968: "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Answer: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Spoken at a church in Memphis on the evening of April 3, 1968. These would turn out to be King's last words spoken in public, as he was assassinated the next day.
13. From 1968: "We have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote, 'In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'"

Answer: Robert F. Kennedy

Speaking in a Black neighborhood in Indianapolis only hours after Martin Luther King's assassinaton, Kennedy gave an impromptu eulogy for Dr. King, after which the crowd quietly returned home.
14. From 1974: "If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here, then perhaps that eighteenth-century Constitution should be abandoned to a twentieth-century paper shredder. Has the president committed offenses and planned and directed and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That is the question."

Answer: Barbara Jordan

From her opening statement of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. The national TV audience became riveted by her eloquent and unflinching assessment of the president.
15. Who concluded his acceptance speech for the 1978 Nobel Prize for literature with these inspiring words: "The pessimism of the creative person is not decadence but a mighty passion for the redemption of man. While the poet entertains, he continues to search for eternal truths, for the essence of being. In his own fashion he tries to solve the riddle of time and change, to find an answer to suffering, to reveal love in the very abyss of cruelty and injustice. Strange as these words may sound, I often play with the idea that when all the social theories collapse and wars and revolutions leave humanity in utter gloom, the poet - whom Plato banned from his Republic - may rise up and save us all."

Answer: Isaac Bashevis Singer

Singer was born in Poland in 1904, but immigrated to the U.S. in 1935. He wrote in Yiddish, and in his acceptance speech he called Yiddish "the tongue of martyrs and saints, of dreamers and kabbalists--rich in humor and memories. In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of frightened and hopeful humanity."
Source: Author chessart

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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