What Are Examples of Persuasive Speeches?

Garry Knight/CC-BY 2.0

Examples of persuasive speeches include Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” address before Great Britain’s House of Commons, Demosthenes’s “The Third Philippic” before the Athenian assembly and President Ronald Reagan’s “Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate” speech aimed at Mikhail Gorbachev. Persuasive speeches, also called orations, convince people to take action.

Churchill spoke before the House of Commons after a massive evacuation of French troops in late May 1940 at the beginning of World War II. The great orator convinced his fellows that, despite the fall of France, “we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence.”

Demosthenes grew tired of Philip the II of Macedon’s frequent incursions into Greece. When the people of Athens were apathetic towards the possible demise of Athenian democracy, Demosthenes spoke to his people in 342 B.C. about how “it is cowardice, to cherish hopes like these, to give way to evil counsels.”

Reagan’s famous speech June 12, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin implored Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Four years later, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Berlin Wall was torn down.

Several persuasive speech topics for October 2014 include abortion, video games, human cloning, private schools, health insurance and genetically modified crops, among others. Persuasive language and concepts use many tactics to gain attention, establish credibility and stimulate a desire for action.