John F. Kennedy quotes and sayings
May 29, 1917
November 22, 1963
We must live our lives in such a way that our children, and their children after them, will form a natural and lasting commitment to the vigorous life. Only in this way can we be assured that the spirit and strength of America will be constantly replenished.
A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.
Our labor unions are not narrow, self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours, and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, they have brought justice and democracy to the shop floor.
The most ideal approach to advance is the way of opportunity.
While they came from a variety of religious backgrounds and held a wide variety of religious beliefs, each of our presidents in his own way has placed a special trust in God.
The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet.
We can say with some assurance that, although children may be the victims of fate, they will not be the victims of our neglect.
A technological revolution on the farm has led to an output explosion--but we have not yet learned to harness that explosion usefully, while protecting our farmers' right to full parity income.
But colonialism in its harshest forms is not only the exploitation of new nations by old, of dark skins by light, or the subjugation of the poor by the rich. My Nation was once a colony, and we know what colonialism means; the exploitation and subjugation of the weak by the powerful, of the many by the few, of the governed who have given no consent to be governed, whatever their continent, their class, their color.
I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
Will Rogers once said it is not the original investment in a Congressman that counts; it is the upkeep.
Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain.
Our economy today depends upon women in the labor force. One out of three workers is a woman. Today, there are almost 25 million women employed, and their number is rising faster than the number of men in the labor force.
No one gains from fair employment law and legislation if there is no employment to be had.
The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.
We can have faith in the future only if we have faith in ourselves.
The basis of self-government and freedom requires the development of character and self-restraint and perseverance and the long view. And these are qualities which require many years of training and education.
I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.
Third, and finally, the educated citizen has an obligation to uphold the law. This is the obligation of every citizen in a free and peaceful society--but the educated citizen has a special responsibility by the virtue of his greater understanding. For whether he has ever studied history or current events, ethics or civics, the rules of a profession or the tools of a trade, he knows that only a respect for the law makes it possible for free men to dwell together in peace and progress.
The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.
If you face a man's job, find a woman!
A boy spends his time finding a girl to sleep with. A real man spends his time looking for the one worth waking up to.
And if we are to open employment opportunities in this country for members of all races and creeds, then the Federal Government must set an example. The President himself must set the key example. I am not going to promise a Cabinet post or any other post to any race or ethnic group. That is racism in reverse at its worst. So I do not promise to consider race or religion in my appointments if I am successful. I promise only that I will not consider them.
I need this parade like I need a hole in the head.
Courage--judgment--integrity--dedication--these are the historic qualities of the Bay Colony and the Bay State....And these are the qualities which, with God's help, this son of Massachusetts hopes will characterize our government's conduct in the four stormy years that lie ahead.
Wherever there is smoke there is a good smoke machine.
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will talk sense to the American people. But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
The life of the arts is far from an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is close to the center of a nation's purpose-and is a test of the quality of a nations' civilization.
The physical fitness of our citizens is a vital prerequisite to America's realization of its full potential as a nation, and to the opportunity of each individual citizen to make full and fruitful use of his capacities.
Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.
The first man-made satellite to orbit the earth was named Sputnik. The first living creature in space was Laika. The first rocket to the Moon carried a red flag. The first photograph of the far side of the Moon was made with a Soviet camera. If a man orbits the earth this year his name will be Ivan.
All my life Ive known better than to depend on the experts. How could I have been so stupid, to let them go ahead?
I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; Dear Jack, Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.
And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state, our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions: First, were we truly men of courage... Second, were we truly men of judgment... Third, were we truly men of integrity... Finally, were we truly men of dedication?-.
Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping hand to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want.
The guiding principle of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be IN GOD WE TRUST.
Only in winter can you tell which trees are truly green. Only when the winds of adversity blow can you tell whether an individual or a country has steadfastness.
Every dollar released from taxation that is spared or invested will help create a new job and a new salary.
Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.
The high office of the President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American's freedom and before I leave office, I must inform the citizens of this plight.
If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.
I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.
Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in.
The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space.
The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.
Bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us...No longer is the quest for disarmament a sign of weakness, the destruction of arms a dream - it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an unlimited arms race.
Malthus argued a century and a half ago that man, by using up all his available resources, would forever press on the limits of subsistence, thus condemning humanity to an indefinite future of misery and poverty. We can now begin to hope and, I believe, know that Malthus was expressing not a law of nature, but merely the limitation then of scientific and social wisdom. The truth or falsity of his prediction will depend now, with the tools we have, on our own actions, now and in the years to come.
We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty... All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin... And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
A full scale nuclear exchange, lasting less than 60 minutes...could wipe out more than 300 million Americans, Europeans, and Russians, as well as untold numbers elsewhere. And the survivors-as Chairman Khrushchev warned the Communist Chinese, `the survivors would envy the dead.' For they would inherit a world so devastated by explosions and poison and fire that today we cannot conceive of its horrors.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it.
If hadn't left, I'd be working over here at the Albatross Company.
Irrational barriers and ancient prejudices fall quickly when the question of survival itself is at stake.
All students, members of the faculty, and public officials in both Mississippi and the Nation will be able, it is hoped, to return to their normal activities with full confidence in the integrity of American law. This is as it should be, for our Nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty and defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny.
One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
We have become more and more not a nation of athletes but a nation of spectators.
For if Freedom and Communism were to compete for mans allegiance in a world at peace, I would look to the future with ever increasing confidence.
When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we'd been saying they were.
I want to emphasize in the great concentration which we now place upon scientists and engineers how much we still need the men and women educated in the liberal tradition, willing to take the long look, undisturbed by prejudices and slogans of the moment, who attempt to make an honest judgment on difficult events.
Someone always needs rescuing, yet there's only one person who ever seems to understand you. It's a lot like being Lassie.
Blight has descended on our regulatory agencies - and a dry rot, beginning in Washington, is seeping into every corner of America - in the payola mentality, the expense account way of life, the confusion between what is legal and what is right.
There is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in war and some men are wounded; some men never leave the country, some men are stationed in the Antarctic and some are stationed in San Francisco. It's very hard in military or in personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair.
Now the trumpet summons us again - not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are; but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation', a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.
And lastly, Chairman Khrushchev has compared the United States to a worn-out runner living on its past performance, and stated that the Soviet Union would out-produce the United States by 1970. Without wishing to trade hyperbole with the Chairman, I do suggest that he reminds me of the tiger hunter who has picked a place on the wall to hang the tiger's skin long before he his caught the tiger. This tiger has other ideas.
The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the nation's greatness. But the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
To exclude from positions of trust and command all those below the age of 44 would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from commanding the Continental Army, Madison from fathering the Constitution, Hamilton from serving as secretary of the treasury, Clay from being elected speaker of the House and Christopher Columbus from discovering America.
Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.
Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation.
For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation.
I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters - and the church does not speak for me.
Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent.
Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing.
Expansion and modernization of the nation's productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment.
Richard Cromwell was not fit to wear the mantle of his uncle.
Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.
Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.
I strongly believe in Scouting. ... It's a source of great strength to us.
This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents. We cannot say to ten percent of the population that you can't have that right; that your children cannot have the chance to develop whatever talents they have; that the only way that they are going to get their rights is to go in the street and demonstrate. I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.
I have said that control of arms is a mission that we undertake particularly for our children and our grandchildren and that they have no lobby in Washington.
You're in there with me. Personally.
The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.
Wealth is the means, and people are the ends. All our material riches will avail us little if we do not use them to expand the opportunities of our people.
In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
We don't want to be like the leader in the French Revolution who said There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.
Abroad, the balance of power is shifting. There are new and more terrible weapons--new and uncertain nations--new pressures of population and deprivation.
A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today - and in fact we have forgotten.
No country can possibly move ahead, no free society can possibly be sustained, unless it has an educated citizenry whose qualities of mind and heart permit it to take part in the complicated and increasingly sophisticated decisions that pour not only upon the President and upon the Congress, but upon all the citizens who exercise the ultimate power.
George W. Bush
John F. Kennedy
William J. Clinton
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Lyndon B. Johnson
Harry S Truman
Richard M. Nixon
George H. W. Bush
John Quincy Adams
Gerald R. Ford
James A. Garfield
William Howard Taft
Rutherford B. Hayes
Ulysses S. Grant
John le Carre
James Howard Kunstler
John of Kronstadt
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