John Fitzgerald Kennedy


John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quotes

  • ''No one has been barred on account of his race from fighting or dying for America—there are no "white" or "colored" signs on the foxholes or graveyards of battle.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Message to Congress, June 19, 1963. Quoted in New York Times (June 20, 1963). Referring to the proposed civil rights bill.
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  • ''In free society art is not a weapon.... Artists are not engineers of the soul.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. speech, Oct. 26, 1963, Amherst College, Massachusetts. quoted in New York Times (Oct. 27, 1963). The words "Writers are the engineers of human souls" have been ascribed to Josef Stalin.
  • ''We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. quoted in Observer (London, Dec. 10, 1961).
  • ''The United States has to move very fast to even stand still.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Quoted in Observer (London, July 21, 1963).
  • ''You never know what's hit you. A gunshot is the perfect way.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. quoted in Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Kennedys, pt. 3, ch. 3 (1984). Kennedy responded with these words when asked how he would choose to die.
  • ''Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. remark, Nov. 1961. Quoted in Portrait of a President, William Manchester (1962).
  • ''Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person between Nixon and the White House.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. quoted in Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy, pt. 2, ch. 7 (1965). Teasing remark to a liberal supporter during the 1960 election campaign; Nixon won 49.6 percent of the total vote.
  • ''My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. president. Inaugural address, January 20, 1961, Washington, DC. quoted in Theodore C. Sorenson, Kennedy, pt. 3, ch. 9 (1965). Kennedy continued, "My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." Many antecedents to these words have been cited, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., in his Memorial Day address, 1884: "It is now the moment ... to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return." Kennedy himself expressed the same idea in a televised campaign address, September 20, 1960.
  • ''We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961, Washington, DC. quoted in Theodore C. Sorenson, Kennedy, pt. 3, ch. 9 (1965).
  • ''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."''
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Speech, 1958, Gridiron Dinner, Washington D.C.. Quoted in The Wit of President Kennedy, Bill Adler (1964).

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