What Are the Most Famous Quotes?


Quick Answer

Two famous quotes are Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Both quotes were part of influential public speeches.

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Full Answer

King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King spoke to an audience of over 250,000 civil rights advocates in what has become one of the best-known speeches in history. The quote came at the end of the speech, when King partially improvised it as a response to gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who cried out for King to tell the audience about his dream. King described his dream of a future in which freedom and equality could emerge from the United States’ racist history.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous quote came as part of his presidential inauguration speech on March 4, 1933. Roosevelt made the quote early in the speech, stating, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Louis McHenry Howe, a newspaperman and close confidante of Roosevelt’s, added the line to a draft of the speech. Roosevelt slightly changed the ending before delivering it days later at his inauguration.

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