Sep 20, 2007

JFK Quotes You Probably Haven't Heard



Here are some JFK quotes that you've likely never heard. I would ask the question - when will we ever hear a President utter such words again?


a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.


Commencement Address American University, Washington, Monday, June 10, 1963


Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war.
September 25, 1961



Our primary long-range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament -- designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms.


June 10, 1963



It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race- -to advance together step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved. We invite them now to go beyond agreement in principle to reach agreement on actual plans.


Address Before the General Assembly of the United Nations. September 25, 1961




but this administration has failed to recognize, has failed to recognize that in these changing times, with a revolution of rising expectation sweeping the globe, the United States has lost its image as a new, strong, vital, revolutionary society.

University of Illinois Campus, October 24th, 1960

I believe in an America... 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

Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, September 12, 1960



If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich


Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 1961





In this serious hour in our Nation's history when we are confronted with grave crises in Berlin and Southeast Asia, when we are devoting our energies to economic recovery and stability, when we are asking reservists to leave their homes and their families for months on end and servicemen to risk their lives--and four were killed in the last two days in Viet Nam and asking union members to hold down their wage requests at a time when restraint and sacrifice are being asked of every citizen, the American people will find it hard, as I do, to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility can show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans.

News Conference April 11, 1962



In short, at a time when they could be exploring how more efficiency and better prices could be obtained... a few gigantic corporations have decided to increase prices in ruthless disregard of their public responsibilities.



April 11, 1962



Harry Truman once said there are 14 or 15 million Americans who have the resources to have representatives in Washington to protect their interests, and that the interests of the great mass of other people, the hundred and fifty or sixty million, is the responsibility of the President of the United States. And I propose to fulfill it.



Atlantic City at the Convention of the United Auto Workers. May 8th, 1962


I realize that there are some businessmen who feel only they want to be left alone, that Government and politics are none of their affairs, that the balance sheet and profit rate of their own corporation are of more importance than the worldwide balance of power or the Nationwide rate of unemployment. But I hope it is not rushing the season to recall to you the passage from Dickens' "Christmas Carol" in which Ebenezer Scrooge is terrified by the ghosts of his former partner, Jacob Marley, and Scrooge, appalled by Marley's story of ceaseless wandering, cries out, "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob." And the ghost of Marley, his legs bound by a chain of ledger books and cash boxes, replied, "Business? Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

Members and guests of the Florida State Chamber of Commerce, whether we work in the White House or the State House or in a house of industry or commerce, mankind is our business. And if we work in harmony, if we understand the problems of each other and the responsibilities that each of us bears, then surely the business of mankind will prosper. And your children and mine will move ahead in a securer world, and one in which there is opportunity for them all.




Florida Chamber of Commerce, November 18th, 1963



The inspiration for these quotes came from a documentary entitled Evidence of Revision. It's a series of five videos, each about an hour and a half long that you can find on Google Video. I would highly recommend finding the time to watch it. Once you do - you'll be left with some strong doubt as to who killed this man. More significant to the here and now - you'll realize that the completion of a Presidential Commission of inquiry does not mean that the public is in possession of the truth - I'm no 9/11 conspiracy theorist - but that doesn't mean I have to consider the commissions report to be anything more than toilet paper.

36 comments:

DiggUser said...

Great quotes chat!

Anonymous said...

politicians just don't lie as well as JFK could any more.

Anonymous said...

Wonder who the speech writer was.

Alan Pardew said...

Great post, i never hear abou this quotes

Anonymous said...

In short, at a time when they could be exploring how more efficiency and better prices could be obtained... a few gigantic corporations have decided to increase prices in ruthless disregard of their public responsibilities.

Or at least corporations could tell politicians when they are going to make it big so they can get in on the ground floor and make policy based on their stocks options (see the newest push for ethanol)

Reverend ToneZone said...

Great quotes by a great president. It's a shame "they" got to him before he could make significant changes . . .

Anonymous said...

RE:Wonder who the speech writer was.

Usually, it was John Kenneth Galbraith

Anonymous said...

WHO CARES!!!!!

Phil said...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

It's refreshing to hear this from such a wealthy man.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the best of them all:

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children-not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. .

First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as be wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again.

I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the values of hopes and dreams, but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions - on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace, no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process, a way of solving problems.

With such a peace there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor; it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. . . .

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1963Kennedy-peacestrat.html
for the full text.

Kennedy was the best President of the 20th Century. He's the man who stood up and said, we're going to go to the moon within a decade - no idea how, but we're going to do it.

We could use a little of that these days.

rbanffy said...

"We could use a little of that these days."

That's so true it almost hurts

Anonymous said...

Yeah really.

Imagine a President who stood up and said: we're going to become energy independent within a decade. I don't know how, but I trust in American ingenuity and spirit and together we will do it.

90% of our international problems would disappear overnight.

What do we get instead? "Be afraid and go shopping."

JG Hitzert said...

I love this quote,

My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.

John F. Kennedy

JFK's main speech writer was Ted Sorenson

Sean Tevis said...

I haven't heard most of these and I wish I had. Thanks. I'm beginning to wonder if America even really exists any more.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the following quotes form JFK:

"In short, it is a paradoxical truth that ... the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."
– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference
________________________________________
"Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964
"In today's economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"
________________________________________
"It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today's economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"
________________________________________
"Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.
________________________________________
"A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues."
– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill
________________________________________
"I have asked the secretary of the treasury to report by April 1 on whether present tax laws may be stimulating in undue amounts the flow of American capital to the industrial countries abroad through special preferential treatment."
– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 6, 1961, message to Congress on gold and the balalnce of payments deficit
________________________________________
"In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment."
– John F. Kennedy, April 20, 1961, message to Congress on taxation
________________________________________
"Our present tax system ... exerts too heavy a drag on growth ... It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking ... The present tax load ... distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities."
– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference
________________________________________
"The present tax codes ... inhibit the mobility and formation of capital, add complexities and inequities which undermine the morale of the taxpayer, and make tax avoidance rather than market factors a prime consideration in too many economic decisions."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 23, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform
________________________________________
"The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform
________________________________________
"Expansion and modernization of the nation's productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry ... An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment."
– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1961, message on economic recovery
________________________________________
"We must start now to provide additional stimulus to the modernization of American industrial plants ... I shall propose to the Congress a new tax incentive for businesses to expand their normal investment in plant and equipment."
– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 13, 1961, National Industrial Conference Board
________________________________________
"A bill will be presented to the Congress for action next year. It will include an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in both corporate and personal income taxes. It will include long-needed tax reform that logic and equity demand ... The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy. Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries can create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy."
– John F. Kennedy, Aug. 13, 1962, radio and television report on the state of the national economy
________________________________________
"This administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes ... Next year's tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes, for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital ... I am confident that the enactment of the right bill next year will in due course increase our gross national product by several times the amount of taxes actually cut."
– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference

Anonymous said...

Those would be great quotes if he had meant any of them.

How about Vietnam? How about his brutal policies towards Cuba? How about bringing the world closer than it has ever been to the very real threat of nuclear war (literally one word away from it)? Sorry guys, but your peace president was one of my most hawkish we ever had. He was very willing and eager to show the force of the United States to the Soviets and intensify the Cold War. That was his idea of a "peace race."

Look into his record as president and compare it to the image he presents himself with. It's not much different than Bush talking about freedom while invading countries.

Anonymous said...

too bad JFK was a good president that meant everything he said. too bad he had integrity. shame on him for being a good president.

Anonymous said...

kennedy was going to pull out of vietnam had he not died. The historians now agree on that point.

Anonymous said...

If you like the quotes you will love this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250167144537&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=015

Anonymous said...

But he did bang Marilyn Monroe and Angie
Dickinson

Chrismo said...

Why don't Americans take control of their president/country? As a democratic country, you are responsible for everything your president does. It's not his shame - you all share it equally. Take control of your country!

scotchbob said...

When in Boston take a ride on the "T" out to the JFK Library. It's an amazing view of history without the soundbites. Even with all his human failings JFK was destined for greatness.

Anonymous said...

JFK had already started withdrawing US personal from Vietnam and revoked the authority of the privately owned Federal Reserve to issue debt backed Federal Reserve Notes, reinstating the US Treasury as the only printer of silver backed US Bank Notes just months before he was murdered.

Johnson reversed both those policies immediately on taking office.

He already had the paperwork ready.

Anonymous said...

This quote strikes me,

"Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war." -JFK 1961.

In the same year the U.S. deployed 15 Intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Turkey, aimed at the USSR's western cities,including its capital Moscow. In 1962 the Russians responded accordingly, hence the Cuban missile crisis.

bestbeanie said...

'kennedy was going to pull out of vietnam had he not died. The historians now agree on that point.'

The historians have NOT agreed on that point. I am currently writing my final year dissertation of 12,000 words arguing quite the contrary. JFK increased the psychological importance of Vietnam to American interests, with quotes like this....

'vietnam represents a proving ground of deomcarcy in Asia'.

'the United States is directly responsible for this experiment- it is playing an important role in the laboratory where it is being conducted. We cannot pwemit that experiment to fail.'

'Vietnam represents a test of American responsibility and determination in Asia... This is our Offspring- we cannot abandon it, we cannot ignore its needs.'

'the key position of Vietnam in Southeast ASia... makes inevitable the involvement of this nation's security in any new outbreak of trouble.'

In one of his last Press Conferences JFK stated,

'Our goal is a stable government there, carrying on a struggle to maintain its national independence. We believe strongly in that... In my opinion, for us to withdraw from that effort would mean a collapase not only of South Vietnam but Southeast Asia. So we are going to stay there.'

LBJ took office and said,

'rightly or wrongly, I felt from the very first day in office that I had to carry on for President Kennedy. I considered myself the caretaker of both his people and his policies... I did what I believed he would of wanted me to do.'

He was a troubled man, who assumed office in the most horrific circumstances, he tried to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors but the ground shifted underneath his feet. Containment theory and the Domino Theory alongside a recurrent fear of communism as a monolithic challenge to the American way of life led to interventionist policies that spanned the whole postwar period. Unfortunately for LBJ he was the caretaker when the sea-change took place. As the war in Vietnam escalated and the prospect of winning appeared remote the American people bgan questioning the war and the whole premise on which it had been based. LBJ's policies with regard to Vietnam, were remarkably continuous with JFK, Eisenhower and even Truman. Vietnam was not 'Lyndon's war' but America's.

Anonymous said...

bestbeanie, as someone who has studied the Kennedy presidency far longer, casually for over 20 years, I suggest you do more research.

You can easily use evidence to make a shallow case for the side you are now taking, finding quotes that make it appear JFK was not leaving Vietnam any time soon.

But if you approach the issue honestly, and do your research, you will learn the key facts in discerning his plans.

Recommended reading would include especially "JFK and Vietnam" by John Newman, for which two reviews I'll quote:

"Had he lived, would President Kennedy have committed U.S. troops to Vietnam? According to the evidence marshalled here, the answer is a resounding no. Newman, who teaches international politics at the University of Maryland, argues that when JFK went to Dallas he already intended to withdraw U.S. advisers from Vietnam, but held off to ensure his reelection in 1964. The book traces the president's pullout plan back to April '62, when he stated that the U.S. should seize every opportunity to reduce its commitment to Vietnam. A month later Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara asked U.S. generals in Saigon how soon the South Vietnamese would be ready to take over the war effort. This well-documented study shows that JFK was for a time deceived by Gen. Maxwell Taylor, head of the joint chiefs, and others in a blizzard of briefings that claimed unadulterated progress and success. Newman maintains that although the president paid public lip service to a continued commitment to appease the right, his goal was to abandon a venture that he early recognized as a lost cause. No other study has revealed so clearly how the tragedy in Dallas affected the course of the war in Vietnam, since two days after the assassination Lyndon Johnson signed a National Security Action Memo that opened the way for the fateful escalation of the war."

"Bold and authoritative revisionist analysis of Kennedy's Vietnam policy, by a US Army major who teaches history at the Univ. of Maryland. What was JFK's real agenda regarding Vietnam? Newman claims that the young President planned to withdraw American forces from that war-torn country--and his case is strong. The author pictures an isolated Kennedy battling both cold war jingoism and a military- industrial lobby avid for a war that would make tens of billions of dollars. Conventional wisdom generally sees JFK's early attacks on Eisenhower's covert liaison with France regarding Vietnam as simple political expediency, and Kennedy as another adherent to the domino theory. JFK's speeches buttress that position, but Newman, working with newly declassified material, argues that these speeches were simply requisite political twistings and turnings--and that Kennedy planned to get the US out of Vietnam despite a hawkish palace clique (led by Lyndon Johnson) that fed him disinformation on this most crucial foreign-policy issue. Document by document, incident by incident, the author reveals Kennedy as stranded within his own Administration, alienated by his desire to avoid this ultimate wrong-time, wrong-place war. Newman's research culminates in two crucial National Security Action Memos. In one, authored several weeks before Kennedy's death, the President formally endorsed withdrawal from Vietnam of a thousand advisors by the end of 1963 (to be followed by complete withdrawal by the end of 1965). In the second, written six days after the assassination, LBJ reversed the withdrawal policy and planned in some detail the escalation to follow. Crucial to any reevaluation of JFK as President and statesman, this electrifying report portrays a wily, stubborn, conflicted leader who grasped realities that eluded virtually everyone else in the US establishment."

Other reading would include facts reported in William Manchester's "One Brief Shining Moment", documenting the quiet discussions JFK had with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, who JFK sent to Vietnam to help him get a more accurate understanding than his own government was giving him - resulting in Mansfield strongly telling him to exit and Kennedy assuring him he planned to, but felt the national politics required him to wait until after the 1964 election. Also, Robert McNamara's "In Retrospect", where he looks back and concludes JFK would have left Vietnam. When JFK's own Secretary of Defense has to put effort into reaching the conclusion, you sure as heck will have to do so too. Also read later books analyzing the info above.

You need to understand the cold warrior times JFK led the nation in, you need to understand the hawkishness in the administration (the same advisers who assured LBJ after Kennedy was killed that Kennedy was for the war), you need to understand the difference between Kennedy's statements which had political statements and made the policies he wanted more subtly clear.

For example, note how Kennedy constantly framed his pro-peace messages in hawkish terms, to suit the cold war politics. A favorite phrase was 'The Strategy of Peace', used for the title of a book of his speeches; his reference to a 'peace race' rather than an 'arms race'; when he's ask the American people to support peace, he'd put it as doing so by not being like the Soviets, to use their hatred of the communists for his purpose of peace, and you need to understand his preference for keeping his options open.

You need to understand the subtlety of his mixing politically correct messages about the 'goal' of an independant Vietnam, with his more subtle messages laying the groundwork for withdrawal - by saying he was for an independant Vietnam, he got people not to ask so much if he was being 'weak on communism', but by following it with 'but' arguments, such as 'but while we can send aid and arms, it's their war to win or lose', he was carefully preparing people - to limits of US aid to money and arms and trainig, not combat forces; that the Vietnamese might lose the war, and he did not indicate we'd escalate to stop that if it happened.

You need to understand his broader approach to the use of force for policy, to try to understand his views on Vietnam, and you need to wade through a lot of misleading things since he was not being exactly candid with the public or even most of his own advisers as he found himself at times alone in his position.

Rather than get the signin working, this is written by Craig234.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy had the courage not to listen to republicans and military advisers and ordered a quarantine of Cuba. Do you realize if he had approved the air strike, we'd all be dead?

Marianne said...

The Last Great President
RIP JFK

Anonymous said...

Accidently discovered this site. Thank you. Great words.

No matter whether one thinks - "politicians just dont lie as well as JFK could any more" or one wonders - "who the speech writer was." - as some readers have posted here.

The point is this: They're very relevant words for Today's World. And are words for us to definitely make use of to hold those accountable who desperately need to be held accountable, keep 'em straight.

Thanks again for posting them.

And thanks to Mr.Kennedy as well. May he rest in peace forever. For sharing with us what we need to know.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy was half truth and lie, his peace speech was nice but quaint.

Anonymous said...

he was the only president and thelast that wasnot part of the illuminati he tried to help us ........anonymous

wargabebas said...

Some of the Anonymous posters here sound like, read like ADL diehards. How could the President rest in peace? He was murdered and shame on America for not standing up against the cover-up of the murder. Sealed in secrecy till 2050? Why should America settle for that, buy that? Pathetic. Real idealist are always shot down. What more a President who is an idealist with no illusion. Anyway, great blog, great President.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Marianne

Elaine Spitz said...

Well chosen quotes - for more interesting info on JFK go to http://www.jfkexperience.com - Mr. Lowe is a very knowledgeable student of President Kennedy.

Richie Warnke said...

Its funny to see the words of guys on here that obviously do not know all of the facts of John F. Kennedy. The man died trying to recreate what Abraham Lincoln had done back in the 1860's and create money with the United States treasury that was interest free. Ever heard of "Greenbacks" Abraham Lincoln created roughly 40 million dollars to fund the civil war after being offered a 24% to 36% interest rate by the banks. Because of that success he put in motion the creation of a bill that the United States government would create and control currency. The national banks not liking this had abe assassinated. John F. Kennedy tried to finish what abe tried to start around half a century later and was murdered himself. Only a ignorant fool would not be able to do the research and draw the conclusion that the banks are the world power and the one power that needs to be underminded and overthrown by one nation to show the rest it can be done as American history has done so many times going back and forth with the banks. Do your research! Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, find the correlation and you will find the truth.

Sarah said...

"Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible will make violent revolutions inevitable." March 13, 1962 on the First Anniversary of the Alliance for Progress