Celebrate Presidents’ Day by Citing a Presidential Speech

Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February each year in the United States—and it offers the perfect opportunity to honor the life and achievements of past American presidents, especially historical standouts like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

The holiday was initially held on February 22nd to honor the life and achievements of George Washington (it coincided with his birthday). So, what better way to commemorate the holiday than by learning to cite one of Washington’s most famous presidential speeches: his farewell address.

Below, we’ve laid out instructions on how to cite any presidential speech in three citation styles: MLA, APA and Chicago. For each style, we’ve cited Washington’s farewell address as an example.

In order to properly cite a presidential speech, you need to know the following pieces of information:

  1. Speaker’s first and last name
  2. Speech’s title
  3. Date the speech was delivered
  4. Editor’s name (if applicable)

If you found the speech in a book, you should also take note of the following:

  1. Book’s title
  2. First and last name of the book’s author
  3. Book’s publisher
  4. Book’s year of publication
  5. City and state the publisher is located in
  6. Page number(s) of the speech

If you found the speech on the internet, instead pay attention to:

  1. Title of the article
  2. Title of the webpage (if it differs from the article name)
  3. Where the speech was given
  4. Publisher of the website
  5. Date the article was posted
  6. URL of the website where the speech resides

Citing Washington’s Farewell Address in MLA Style

Book

How it would look if found in a book:

Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Speech.” Year Speech Delivered. Title of Book, by Author’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year of Publication.

MLA citation example (We used the book shown here):

Washington, George. “George Washington’s Farewell Address.” 1796. George Washington’s Farewell Address: Little Books of Wisdom, by John Brooks, Applewood Books, 1999.

Online Transcript

How it would look if found in an online transcript:

Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Speech.” Year Speech Was Delivered. Title of Article, Publisher’s Name, Date of Publication, URL (no http:// or https://).

MLA example:

Washington, George. “George Washington’s Farewell Address.” 1796. Washington’s Farewell Address 1796, Lillian Goldman Law Library, 2008, avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp.

Citing Washington’s Farewell Address in APA Style

Book

How it would look if found in a book:

Title of speech. (Publication Year of Book). In Editor’s Initial. Last Name (Ed.), Book title. City, State: Publisher.

APA citation example:

George Washington’s farewell address. (1999). In J. Brooks (Ed.), George Washington’s farewell address: Little books of wisdom. Bedford, MA: Applewood Books.

Online Transcript

How it would look if found in an online transcript:

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year of Publication for Webpage). Title of the article or individual page [Format]. Retrieved from URL (no http:// or https://).

APA example:

Washington, G. (2008). Washington’s farewell address 1796  [Transcript]. Retrieved from avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp.

Citing Washington’s Farewell Address in Chicago Style

Book

How it would look if found in a book:

Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Speech.” Year Speech Was Delivered. In Book Title, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name. City, State: Publisher, Year Published.

Chicago citation example:

Washington, George. “George Washington’s Farewell Address.” 1796. In George Washington’s Farewell Address: Little Books of Wisdom, edited by John Brooks. Bedford, Massachusetts: Applewood Books, 1999.

Online Transcript

How it would look if found in an online transcript:

Speaker’s Last Name, Speaker’s First Name. “Title of Speech.” Speech, Location Delivered, Date Delivered. “Title of Webpage,” Title of Site. Date Accessed. URL.

Chicago example:

Washington, George. “Washington’s Farewell Address.” Speech, Washington, D.C., 1796. “The Avalon Project: Documents in Law ,History and Diplomacy,” Avalon Project. Accessed November 6, 2018. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp.


Need to cite more than what’s outlined above? Cite This For Me has several citing resources including a Harvard referencing generator, a guide on how to do an in-text citation,  an annotated bibliography example you can learn from, and other bibliographic tools.