John F. Kennedy Quotes

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, to one of America’s wealthiest families in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were Irish immigrants Joseph “Joe” Kennedy, a merchant who later became a politician, and Rose Kennedy, a philanthropist and socialite. Joe and Rose already had one son (Joe Jr.) when John was born, but they went on to produce seven more: Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert (Bobby), Jean, and Ted.

JFK made history when, at the age of 43, he became the youngest person ever to be sworn in as President of the United States. His presidency was tragically cut short on November 22, 1963, when he was assassinated in Dallas. Kennedy was widely regarded as one of the most charismatic US presidents of all time, as well as a great speaker and writer. His words – particularly his speeches – have stood the test of time, and many politicians, writers, historians, and journalists continue to reference them today. We’re marking the 55th anniversary of JFK’s assassination by sharing some of his most memorable quotes.

About Education

John F. Kennedy grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, during the first ten years of his life. His father was frequently away from the family for long periods of time, thus he attended several schools. The Kennedys moved to Riverdale, Bronx, New York, in September 1927, where John started education at a private boys’ school. When the family moved out of the suburbs a few years later, JFK joined a local boy scout troop and attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

From 1931 to 1932, the future president attended Wallingford, Connecticut’s famous Choate boarding school. Joe Jr., his older brother, had already been there for two years, and John struggled to attend school in the shadow of his older brother. He compensated by forming his own club of boys, “The Muckers Club,” which he named after himself. His health difficulties throughout his time at Choate foreshadowed the struggles he would endure for the remainder of his life. In 1934, JFK was admitted to the Mayo Clinic with probable leukaemia, but doctors determined that he had colitis. In June of the following year, he received his diploma, placing 64th out of 112 students. JFK, the school yearbook’s business manager, was selected “most likely to succeed.”

Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope or dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our Nation.

A child miseducated is a child lost.

The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.

Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.

About Health

When it came time for JFK to go to college, his health difficulties persisted. Despite his desire to attend the London School of Economics (LSE) like his older brother, ill health forced him to enrol late at Princeton. He had to quit out after only two months due to a severe stomach condition. JFK enrolled to Harvard in September 1936 after a time of recuperation. In his cover letter, he stated:

The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a ‘Harvard man’ is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

He excelled at Harvard, where he tried out for the football, golf, and swimming teams before making the varsity swim squad. After a few of years of enjoying a fantastic time, John decided to focus more on his academics. In preparation for his senior thesis, he travelled throughout Europe, the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East, and he was named to the Dean’s List in his junior year. In 1940, JFK received a Bachelor of Arts on government with a concentration in international affairs from Harvard College. In several of his remarks, though, he emphasises the significance he placed on education.

The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another.

Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was sworn into the position of President of the United States for the first time on January 20, 1961. JFK accomplished what others did not till their mid-50s and 60s while he was only 43 years old. His youth, vitality, charm, excellent looks, and increasing family instilled in the White House a sense of newness.

Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won—and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.

John – or Jack, as his family called him – had never been the son who wanted to be a politician. One of the motivations for JFK’s political career was his elder brother Joe Jr.’s death in 1944. Kennedy ran for Congress and then the Senate at his father’s insistence. JFK was a brilliant speaker who was well-liked by many people and was able to use his life experiences to effect change. He used his expertise of foreign affairs to address the looming threat of the Cold War, backed public housing and labour unions, and spoke out on race, immigration, and civil rights problems. People were suspicious of his religious background at the time (Catholic),Kennedy said that during his active service in the South Pacific, the US Navy had never given a damn about his ideas.

In January 1960, John F. Kennedy launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. His youth and lack of expertise were questioned by some, but his charisma and eloquence gained him many followers both within his own party and among the general public. Throughout the protracted campaign, JFK demonstrated that he was a powerful and compelling figure as well as a fantastic speaker. When he accepted the Democratic Party’s candidacy, he gave his now-famous “New Frontier” address, which foreshadowed what was to come:

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

JFK delivered one of the most famous and most quoted speeches of all time at his inauguration. He stressed the importance of all citizens in the United States becoming engaged citizens, as well as all nations working together to combat the common enemies of tyranny, poverty, sickness, and war. He enlisted the help of both those who had voted for him and those who had not, urging the citizens of the United States to:

JFK’s inaugural address foreshadowed events to come. He intended to use his time in the White House to take a different path than those who had gone before him. Kennedy had an upbeat outlook on both home and foreign policy, and he wasted no time in putting his own leadership style in place. He immediately dismantled former-General Eisenhower’s decision-making framework, preferring to run his White House like a wheel instead. Each spoke of the wheel led to the President, and JFK demonstrated that he was capable of making a huge number of swift judgments when necessary.Kennedy assembled a cabinet that included both experienced and novice members (including his brother Bobby), claiming that they could “all learn our jobs together.”

Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met – obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.

Kennedy’s presidency was brief, but there is little doubt that he encountered numerous challenges. His domestic agenda was dubbed “New Frontier,” and he made a lot of bold promises. Federal support for education, medical care for the elderly, economic aid to rural areas, and government involvement to stop the recession were among the items on the list.

I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

His support and campaign for the Civil Rights Movement was one of the most notable aspects of his presidency. Since his presidential campaign, JFK had maintained contact with the King family, and on June 11, 1963, he would actively intervene when Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked the doorway to the University of Alabama to prevent two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending.Only after being addressed by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and the Alabama United States National Guard, which had recently been federalized by presidential order, would Wallace move aside. On television and radio later that evening, Kennedy delivered his Report to the American People on Civil Rights, kicking off his campaign for civil rights legislation to ensure equal access to public schools and other facilities, as well as better protection of voting rights.

The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.

Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.

Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future.

Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment that was known as Camelot. There’ll be great presidents again … but there will never be another Camelot.

We choose to go the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.

For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace.

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.

Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.

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