State Senator’s Speech: JFK Flattery or Plagiarism?

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Dec 06
Senator Michael Noland's speech

Illinois State Senator Michael Noland

State Senator Michael Noland of the Illinois Senate is in hot water with an accusation that he’s plagiarised one of John F.Kennedy’s most notable speeches.

The Democrat Senator was giving a speech in support of civil rights legislation when one of his colleagues–Republican Dale Righter–recognized the similarities with a John F. Kennedy speech from 47 years ago.

Some examples help:

Senator Noland: “Again, legislation cannot solve this problem on discrimination. It must be solved in the hearts of every citizen and every community across this great state.”

and,

John F. Kennedy: “But legislation, I repeat, cannot solve this problem alone. It must be solved in the homes of every American in every community across our country.”

Then…

Senator Noland: “We owe them and owe ourselves and our children a better state than that.”

and,

John F. Kennedy: “I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.”

Senator Noland has admitted that he listened to the 1963 speech by John F. Kennedy before he prepared his own 841-word speech in the Senate. He didn’t give any attribution to the late President. Plagiarism or flattery?

I sense bipartisan politics behind the plagiarism jibe. So the last word goes to the embattled State Senator:

“I believe in every word of my speech. I would not change a word of that speech.”

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+

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