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This speaker's lectern dating to the early 1900s is believed to have been used for patriotic and community events.

Before the advent of radio or newsreels or television, presidents often relied on their oratorical ability to convey information and stimulate popular support. Of course, the number of people able to experience the personality and performance of the president was limited.

President Theodore Roosevelt delivering an address from the rear platform of a train, about 1907
Democratic Party presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan addressing loggers, about 1896
President Warren G. Harding making an informal outdoor speech, around 1921.

Courtesy of Library of Congress

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National Museum of American History