Tags: Presidential History | john kennedy | state of the union

John Kennedy State of the Union Highlights: 10 Quotes From Speeches

By    |   Sunday, 22 March 2015 08:15 PM

John F. Kennedy’s first State of the Union Address was January 30, 1961. He delivered only three such speeches before his November 1963 assassination.

According to The White House, the 35th president was the youngest ever elected and is famously quoted from his inaugural address with, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”

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President John Kennedy’s three State of the Union addresses also offered memorable quotes. Here are 10 quotes from those speeches as presented by the American Presidency Project:

1. “Our greatest challenge is still the world that lies beyond the Cold War--but the first great obstacle is still our relations with the Soviet Union and Communist China. We must never be lulled into believing that either power has yielded its ambitions for world domination--ambitions which they forcefully restated only a short time ago. On the contrary, our task is to convince them that aggression and subversion will not be profitable routes to pursue these ends.” (1961)

2. “This Administration is expanding its Food-for-Peace Program in every possible way. The product of our abundance must be used more effectively to relieve hunger and help economic growth in all corners of the globe…. An even more valuable national asset is our reservoir of dedicated men and women-not only on our college campuses but in every age group--who have indicated their desire to contribute their skills, their efforts, and a part of their lives to the fight for world order. We can mobilize this talent through the formation of a National Peace Corps.” (1961)

3. “The hopes of all mankind rest upon us--not simply upon those of us in this chamber, but upon the peasant in Laos, the fisherman in Nigeria, the exile from Cuba, the spirit that moves every man and Nation who shares our hopes for freedom and the future. And in the final analysis, they rest most of all upon the pride and perseverance of our fellow citizens of the great Republic.” (1961)

4. “Our Nation is commissioned by history to be either an observer of freedom's failure or the cause of its success. Our overriding obligation in the months ahead is to fulfill the world's hopes by fulfilling our own faith.” (1962)

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5. “A strong America depends on its cities-America's glory, and sometimes America's shame.” (1962)

6. “To take advantage of modern vaccination achievements, I am proposing a mass immunization program, aimed at the virtual elimination of such ancient enemies of our children as polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus.” (1962)

7. “Arms alone are not enough to keep the peace--it must be kept by men. Our instrument and our hope is the United Nations-and I see little merit in the impatience of those who would abandon this imperfect world instrument because they dislike our imperfect world. For the troubles of a world organization merely reflect the troubles of the world itself. And if the organization is weakened, these troubles can only increase.” (1962)

8. “The most precious and powerful right in the world, the right to vote in a free American election, must not be denied to any citizen on grounds of his race or color.” (1963)

9. “We shall be judged more by what we do at home than by what we preach abroad. Nothing we could do to help the developing countries would help them half as much as a booming U.S. economy.” (1963)

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10. “We are not lulled by the momentary calm of the sea or the somewhat clearer skies above. We know the turbulence that lies below, and the storms that are beyond the horizon this year. But now the winds of change appear to be blowing more strongly than ever, in the world of communism as well as our own. For 175 years we have sailed with those winds at our back, and with the tides of human freedom in our favor. We steer our ship with hope, as Thomas Jefferson said, "leaving Fear astern." (1963)

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John F. Kennedy's first State of the Union Address was January 30, 1961. He delivered only three such speeches before his November 1963 assassination.
john kennedy, state of the union
Sunday, 22 March 2015 08:15 PM
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