Jfk's Inaugural Address

Topics: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon Pages: 3 (738 words) Published: November 3, 2006
JFK's Inaugural Address

On January 20, 1961, on the east side of the United States Capitol Building, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressed the people of the United States and delivered one of the most powerful and influential speeches to ever grace the ears of our great nation's citizens. This inaugural address was so influential that Pope Paul VI "reread the text numerous times over the years" and his 1967 encyclical "echoed its themes and language" (Clarke 6). Also noted by Clarke is former White House Aide Arthur Schlesinger in his 1965 memoir of the Kennedy administration, A Thousand Days, where Schlesinger goes on to say that "the energies that Kennedy released, the purposes he inspired, the goals he established would guide the land he loved for years to come." Kennedy's speech was so compelling that Senator Barry Goldwater, former leader of the Republican Party's conservative wing, commented "God, I'd like to be able to do what that boy did there" (Clarke 7). In my opinion, our adversaries, either political or otherwise, have no choice but to be moved by a piece of literature as momentous as that of President Kennedy's inaugural address.

President Kennedy's inaugural speech had many purposes but most importantly it gave him positive recognition. The speech was written to encourage the American people to get actively involved with their country. It also reassured them that it was not a contest that he won but rather a chance for a new beginning. In addition, this speech 2

reassured the American voters that they made the proper choice in electing a president and informed a nation that it was on the verge of dramatic change. In one such verse from Kennedy's speech, [he] demonstrates his acknowledgment of the people's desire for powerful change and reinforces his commitment to provide such change to the American people by saying "Let the word go forward from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a...

Bibliography: Clarke, Thomas. Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America (NY: Henry Holt & Co., 2004) 6, 7, 9.
Kennedy, J. F., (1961 January). JFK 's Inaugural Address. Retrieved October 3, 2005, available from http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/president/inaug/kennedy.html
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