No television, no internet, no twitter. 150 years ago public opinion was shaped, not by 30-second sound bytes, banner ads, or 140-character messages. It was shaped by people climbing upon the stage and speaking persuasively to audiences large and small. One speech, carefully constructed, passionately given, and widely circulated, could and did turn obscure politicians into national figures. Civil War Speeches is a collection of passionate words spoken by the people most intimately involved in the great debates of their time. There is an unmistakable truth that one man's traitorous zealot is another man's passionate patriot. The difference is geography. To Southerners, Frederick Douglass and William Garrison, proponents of the abolition of slavery, were extremists threatening a cherished way of life. To Northerners, firebrands like William Loundes Yancy and Robert Barnwell Rhett were fanatics seeking to destroy the union of the states. Their war of words soon devolved into the bloodiest war in American history. These volumes chronicle the drama that was played out over the 15-year period (1850-1865) leading up to and comprising the Civil War. Read chronologically, these speeches show the evolution of public sentiment, molded by the speakers that placed great masses on a collision course. There are no glorious, death-defying bayonet charges to be found in these volumes. The weapons used by the speakers were simple appeals to patriotism and the defense of home and hearth; it was a question of whose flag was to fly over whose country. Civil War Speeches is designed to be every reader's speech reference and every librarian's resource. The editors have made every effort to either obtain the original text, or to reconcile differing texts, to provide the reader the authentic words of the speakers. The only change we have made to the text is to carefully edit the essential sections presented into modern spelling and grammar. Civil War Speeches presents 37 important speeches (20 in the North's volume, 17 in the South's volume) each placed in its correct historic context by a biographical sketch of the speaker, a history of the speech, and a thorough bibliography. Edited for readers, writers, and researchers at all levels, Civil War Speeches provides the user with a right-at-the fingertips, easy-to-access speech reference. A century and a half after the guns have fallen silent, and long after the speakers have gone to their graves, their words still have power to stir the American soul, North and South.