John F Kennedy -
Acting on our own, by ourselves, we cannot establish justice throughout the world; we cannot insure its domestic tranquillity, or provide for its common defence, or promote its general welfare, or secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. But joined with other free nations, we can do all this and more. We can assist the developing nations to throw off the yoke of poverty. We can balance our worldwide trade and payments at the highest possible level of growth. We can mount a deterrent powerful enough to deter any aggression. And ultimately we can help to achieve a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion. John F Kennedy, Philadelphia July 1962
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death. John F Kennedy, North Carolina February 1963
And our liberty, too, is endangered if we pause for the passing moment, if we rest on our achievements, if we resist the pace of progress. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future. John F Kennedy, Frankfurt June 1963
A war today or tomorrow, if it led to nuclear war, would not be like any war in history. A full-scale nuclear exchange, lasting less than 60 minutes, with the weapons now in existence, 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 even conceive of its horrors. So let us try to turn the world away from war. Let us make the most of this opportunity, and every opportunity, to reduce tension, to slow down the perilous nuclear arms race, and to check the world's slide toward final annihilation. John F Kennedy, July 1963
For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do ... It is a time, in short, for a new generation of leadership – new men to cope with new problems and new opportunities ... and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier – the frontier of the 1960s – a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils – a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats. John F Kennedy, acceptance speech Democratic National Convention July 1960
For no amount of arms and armies can help stabilize those governments which are unable or unwilling to achieve social and economic reform and development. Military pacts cannot help nations whose social injustice and economic chaos invite insurgency and penetration and subversion. John F Kennedy, speech Joint session of Congress May 1961
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space. ibid.
Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us ... While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system, for all the world to see, we take no satisfaction in it, for it is, as your Mayor has said, an offence not only against history but an offence against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together. John F Kennedy, Berlin June 1963
You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind. ibid.
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’. ibid.
Good evening, my fellow citizens. This government has promised, has maintained the closest surveillance, of the Soviet military build-up on the island of Cuba. Within the past week unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western hemisphere. John F Kennedy, 7 p.m. 22nd October
To halt this offensive build-up, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation and port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948. ibid.
It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union. ibid.
I trust that in the interests of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at the sites, the hazards to all concerned of continuing the threat will be recognised. ibid.
Here at home the changing face of the future is equally revolutionary. John F Kennedy, acceptance address 1960
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish – where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source – where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials – and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all ... I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end – where all men and all churches are treated as equal – where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice ... I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office ... I am wholly opposed to the state being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or persecute the free exercise of any other religion. John F Kennedy, September 1960
I believe in an America where the free enterprise system flourishes for all other systems to see and admire – where no businessman lacks either competition or credit – and where no monopoly, no racketeer, no government bureaucracy can put him out of business that he built up with his own initiative. John F Kennedy, speech Convention Centre Philadelphia October 1960
I believe in an America where the rights that I have described are enjoyed by all, regardless of their race or their creed or their national origin – where every citizen is free to think and speak as he pleases and write and worship as he pleases – and where every citizen is free to vote as he pleases, without instructions from anyone, his employer, the union leader or his clergyman. ibid.
I believe in an America with a government of men devoted solely to the public interests – men of ability and dedication, free from conflict or corruption or other commitment – a responsible government that is efficient and economical, with a balanced budget over the years of the cycle, reducing its debt in prosperous times – a government willing to entrust the people with the facts that they have – not a businessman's government, with business in the saddle, as the late Secretary McKay described this administration of which he was a member – not a labor government, not a farmer's government, not a government of one section of the country or another, but a government of, for and by the people. ibid.
I believe in an America that is on the march – an America respected by all nations, friends and foes alike – an America that is moving, doing, working, trying – a strong America in a world of peace. That peace must be based on world law and world order, on the mutual respect of all nations for the rights and powers of others and on a world economy in which no nation lacks the ability to provide a decent standard of living for all of its people. But we cannot have such a world, and we cannot have such a peace, unless the United States has the vitality and the inspiration and the strength. If we continue to stand still, if we continue to lie at anchor, if we continue to sit on dead centre, if we content ourselves with the easy life and the rosy assurances, then the gates will soon be open to a lean and hungry enemy. ibid.
If by a Liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties – someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a Liberal, then I’m proud to say I’m a Liberal. John F Kennedy, Profiles in Courage