African Presidential Speeches Database

This site catalogs high-level official, typically presidential, speeches analyzed in the book Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa (Cornell University Press, 2015).  The speeches come from three places: 1) preferably, the newspaper of record in the country in question, 2) summaries of speeches from the Foreign Broadcasting Information Service, or 3) interviews with presidents in radio or in print. The speech selection principle was to choose recurring dates when presidents would typically make addresses to the nation. In most cases, these dates were New Year addresses and Independence Day addresses. The book analyzes the content of these speeches in years prior to the onset of an armed conflict or a period of crisis escalation. After a conflict began, the speech selection principle turned to finding any high-level addresses or interviews during the crisis. In the book, I sought to trace the content in periods prior to armed conflict crises and to see how prior themes appeared, or did not, during the crises.

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