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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
ATLANTA • SAN FRANCISCO
THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
SELECTED AND EDITED BY
SAMUEL BANNISTER HARDING, PH.D.
PROFESSOR OF HISTORY IN INDIANA UNIVERSITY
MODERN HISTORY, ETC.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION ON ORATORICAL STYLE
AND STRUCTURE, AND NOTES, BY
A GREAT part of a people's history, where self-government prevails, may be found in the speeches of its public men. Such utterances are at once an index to the mental caliber of its electors and representatives, a measure of prevalent prejudices and predilections, and a synopsis of its political history. Pericles's oration over the first dead of the Peloponnesian war, and Demosthenes's orations against Philip of Macedon, have long been recognized as important documents in the study of Greek history. Cicero's orations against Verres and on the Catilinian conspiracy aid much to an understanding of the last period of the Roman republic. And it is a commonplace to say that the framework at least of a knowledge of modern English history must be sought in the speeches delivered in Parliament and in public meetings. In our own country, where government proceeds so largely in the open, this is especially true. Government here is the concern of the people themselves, and on all questions of public policy they must be consulted and informed. Public speeches with us, while not the sole means, are an important means to the formation and expression of what Sir Robert Peel once somewhat cynically called "that great compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs, which is called public opinion.” And the record of a people's varying public opinion in political matters, it may be asserted, gives the essence of its political history. “He who moulds public sentiment,” said Lincoln in his first debate