Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” Speech Summary, Text, & Analysis

February 18, 2023

4 min read

If you are looking for Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech summary, text, and analysis, you’ve come to the right place. President Ronald Reagan’s speech expresses the power of speech as it is believed to be the speech that began his political career.

Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” Speech Summary

  •  Peace and security cannot be bought; it requires courage and strength.
  • There is a risk in any policy other than appeasement, but appeasement itself is a risk.
  • History teaches that to surrender is not an option.
  • There are voices advocating for peace at any cost, however this would mean sacrificing freedom.
  • The path to peace is to draw a line and not yield to ultimatums.
  • Life is more than material things; human beings are more than animals.
  • Ultimately, everyone has a destiny to uphold, and a responsibility to protect the last best hope of mankind.

Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” Speech Text

Through Yoodli, you can generate the transcript of any speech you upload or record. The AI-speech coach generated the following text for Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech below:

"We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the iron curtain, give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we are willing to make a deal with your slave masters. Alexander Hamilton said, A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one. Now let’s set the record straight.

There’s no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there’s only one guaranteed way. You can have peace and you can have it in the next second. Surrender. Admittedly, there’s a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement and this is the specter. Our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face that their policy of accommodation is appeasement and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender.

If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand, the ultimatum. And what? Then when Nikita Cruz, Jeff has told his people, he knows what our answer will be. He has told them that we are retreating under the pressure of the Cold War. And someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time, we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.

He believes this because from our side, he’s heard voices pleading for peace at any price or better read than death, or as one commentator put it, he’d rather live on his knees than die on his feet. And therein lies the road to war because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace, so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.

If nothing in life is worth dying for. When did this begin? Just in the face of this enemy. Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the Pharaohs? Should Christ have refused to cross? Should the Patriots at conquered bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard round the world, the martyrs of history were not fools and our honor dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain.

Where then is the road to peace? It’s a simple answer. After all, you and I have the courage to say to our enemies, there is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater, peace through strength. Winston Churchill said, the destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces around the move in the world, we learn we are spirits, not animals.

And he said there’s something going on in time and space and beyond time and space, which whether we like it or not, spells, Judy, you and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this the last best hope of man on earth. Or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."

Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” Speech Analysis

Word Choice

In the Word Choice Category, the top words in Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech include “peace” and “war”. Overall, Reagan’s choice of words was strong with zero filler words. However, he did have four instances of weak words, including three uses of the word “so”.


In the Delivery category, Yoodli detected a total of five pauses throughout Reagan’s speech and a pace higher than average. Through Yoodli, you can make improvements to the speed of delivery, which can help keep your audience engaged.

Wrapping Up


Start practicing with Yoodli.

Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.

Get Yoodli for free