Inspirational – Churchill, Luther King and Mandela named most inspirational speakers
Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have been named the most inspirational public speakers of all time, a survey has revealed. Researchers, who polled 2,000 adults, found that Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s speeches have had the biggest effect on people over the years, credited with keeping the nation’s spirits high during the Second World War.
Martin Luther King Jr. came second for his role in leading the African-American civil rights movement, with his ‘I have a dream’ speech named the most inspirational of all time.
Abraham Lincoln was the only speaker to have two speeches in the top ten – his Gettysburg address in 1863 and his second inaugural address in 1865.
A spokesman for Lincoln, which is being released on DigitalHD™, Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, said:
“Speeches are designed to inspire and rally people, but sometimes, all it needs is one stand-out line to go down in the history books as a memorable speech.
“Other times, being involved in events that sparked a massive change in society, as seen in the film Lincoln and the campaign to abolish slavery, can continue to inspire people years after the event.
“Some of the speakers in the poll are from a century or more ago, yet they are still inspiring people years later because their speeches continue to resonate and can be applied to life today.
“It’s probably safe to say they will go on inspiring people for generations to come.”
Nelson Mandela was named the third most inspirational speaker of all time, followed by the current president of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
Fifth place went to Britain’s only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who passed away last month at the age of 87 – nicknamed The Iron Lady during her 11 years at Number 10, she was famous for her tough-speaking speeches which included lines such as ‘This lady’s not for turning’.
Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, was voted into sixth place.
Former US president Abraham Lincoln, whose 1863 Emancipation Proclamation paved the way for the abolition of slavery, came eighth and another president of the United States, John F Kennedy came ninth.
It was not just political figures that featured in the list of inspirational speakers with wildlife and nature presenter David Attenborough, physicist Stephen Hawking and Mother Teresa included.
Two actresses also featured in the top twenty; Joanna Lumley and public face of the Ghurkha Justice Campaign and Angelina Jolie, United Nations goodwill ambassador.
Other inspirational speakers include industry figures, with Virgin Boss Sir Richard Branson, philanthropist and Apple founder Bill Gates and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs also featuring.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson and former Prime Minister Tony Blair also featured.
The study also found that Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech is the most inspirational of all time, followed by Churchill’s ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ and Margaret Thatcher’s ‘The lady’s not for turning’.
Fourth place went to Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural speech in 1994 while Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address from 1863 completed the top five.
Top 20 most inspirational speakers of all time
- Winston Churchill
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Nelson Mandela
- Barack Obama
- Margaret Thatcher
- Mahatma Gandhi
- David Attenborough
- Abraham Lincoln
- John F Kennedy
- Stephen Hawking
- Mother Teresa
- Joanna Lumley
- Steve Jobs
- Bill Gates
- Pope John Paul II
- Richard Branson
- Boris Johnson
- Bill Clinton
- Tony Blair
- Angelina Jolie
Top 10 speeches of all time
- Martin Luther King ‘I have a dream’ 1963
- Winston Churchill ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ 1940
- Margaret Thatcher ‘This lady’s not for turning’ 1980
- Nelson Mandela ‘Inaugural speech’ 1994
- Abraham Lincoln ‘Gettysburg Address’ 1863 8.90%
- JFK ‘Inaugural Address’ 1961
- Emmeline Pankhurst ‘Freedom or death’ 1913
- Mahatma Gandhi ‘Quit India’ 1942
- Barack Obama ‘The audacity of hope’ 2004
- Abraham Lincoln ’2nd Inaugural Address’ 1865