This article offers a short history of the pedagogy of public speaking. Beginning with the Greek’s creation of the field of rhetoric, the article follows the development of the teaching of public speaking in the Roman era, the European Middle Ages, and Renaissance, and then the article focuses on public speaking in America through to the present day. This article traces the development of public speaking from its more formal and declamatory roots in rhetoric and oratory to the more personal, conversational style used in the wake of the introduction of radio and television. The teaching of public speaking has also necessarily shifted over time in terms of where speaking skills have been taught (within formal educational systems or without), how accessible speaking training was and to whom, and how formalized the rules of correct performance have been. The article ends with a discussion of current trends in public speaking and whether there may be more space in public speaking pedagogy for the robust civic dialogue so strong in nineteenth century America.