Every year about this time, the President of the United States makes his appearance at the lectern in the House of Representatives with great pomp and circumstance – and often great political theater. In light of this expected tableau, we’ve compiled the following 8 quotes on oratory to bear in mind.

  1. “An orator without judgment is a horse without a bridle.” – Theophrastus
  2. “No man can be a complete orator unless he is a good man.” – Quintillian
  3. “Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot
  4. “Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason.” – Benjamin Franklin
  5. “Orators are the most vehement when they have the weakest cause, as men can get on horseback when they cannot walk.” – Cicero
  6. “What orators want in depth they give you in length.” – Montesquieu
  7. “There is no power like that of oratory; Caesar controlled men by exciting their fears, Cicero by captivating their affections and swaying their passions; the influence of the one perished with its author, that of the other continues to this day.” – H. Clay
  8. “Oratory is an engine invented to manage and wield at will the fierce democracy, and like medicine to the sick, is only employed in the paroxysms of a disordered state.” – Montaigne

Sources: Poor Richard’s Almanack, Day’s Collacon, Wisdom for the Soul, and Reed’s Political Oratory.