State Senator’s Speech: JFK Flattery or Plagiarism?

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Dec 06

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 State Senator’s speech was 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.

State senator's speech

State Senator’s Speech Ends In Charge Of Plagiarism

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,

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 President 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?

Politics Behind This State Senator’s Speech Plagiarism Claim?

I sense bipartisan politics behind the plagiarism jibe. So let’s hear the last word from the embattled State Senator:

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

It’s not the first time that we’ve come across a case of speech plagiarism, or a lifted speech controversy. And, we suspect it won’t be the first time.

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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+

  • […] Last week marked the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy‘s Presidential Inauguration speech. It’s a speech with much to recommend it. Pace and tempo. Dramatic allusion and rhetorical flourish all delivered with a slightly Churchillian flourish. So, it’s really no surprise that we often come across his words repeated today, such as this State Senator’s speech. […]

  • Rita Barbera says:

    Plagiarism sure lol

  • John F.Kennedy has very good speeches.. good for inspiration

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