Barack Obama: “A More Perfect Union”


On March 18, 2008, Barack Obama, then running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, delivered a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He opened his speech, “A More Perfect Union,” by quoting the first line of the U.S. Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,” giving the speech its informal title. In the eyes of many political observers, the speech may have been one of the most important Obama delivered during the campaign, and some even argue that the speech put him over the top in winning the nomination and the presidency later that year.

The speech was significant because issues of race were beginning to swirl around the candidate, who went on to become the nation’s first black president. In particular, questions were being raised about Obama’s association with a Chicago pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who was on record as having made comments from the pulpit that were...

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