Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

American Politician, 35th President of the United States, Assassinated

"All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an opportunity to develop our talents."

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

"Compromise does not mean cowardice... Let us never negotiate out of fear; but let us never fear to negotiate."

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."

"Great crises produce great men and great deeds of courage."

"I want every American free to stand up for his rights, even if sometimes he has to sit down for them."

"Our privileges can be no greater than our obligations. The protection of our rights can endure no longer than the performance of our responsibilities."

"Peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of the people."

"Political action is the highest responsibility of a citizen."

"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all."

"Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us."

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others."

"Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."

"Wealth is the mans, and the people are the ends. All our material riches will avail us little if we do not use them to expand the opportunities of our people."

"When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment of each one of us - recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state - our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions - were we truly men of courage... were we truly men of judgment... were we truly men of integrity... were we truly men of dedication?"

"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death."

"A police state finds it cannot command the grain to grow."

"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers."

"Diplomacy and defense are not substitutes for one another. Either alone would fail."

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

"Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope, and the one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable."

"Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free."

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him."

"All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents."

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for your - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what American will do for your, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

"Change is the essence of life... American society is a process, not a conclusion."

"If men and women are in chains, anywhere in the world, then freedom is endangered everywhere."

"If scientific discovery has not been an unalloyed blessing, if it has conferred on mankind the power not only to create but also to annihilate, it has at the same time provided humanity with a supreme challenge and a supreme testing."

"In free society art is not a weapon... Artists are not engineers of the soul."

"Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the desires, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce."

"Let us not be afraid of debate or dissent - let us encourage it. For if we should ever abandon these basic American traditions in the name of fighting Communism, what would it profit us to win the whole world when we have lost our soul?"

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."

"Liberty without learning is always in peril, and learning without liberty is always in vain."

"Lofty words cannot construct an alliance or maintain it; only concrete deeds can do that."

"Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all."

"Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind."

"Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing."

"No government is better than the men who compose it."

"No man who witnessed the tragedies of the last war, no man who can imagine the unimaginable possibilities of the next war can advocate war out of irritability or frustration or impatience."

"Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life, I find."

"Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."

"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."

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

"Political sovereignty is but a mockery without the means of meeting poverty and illiteracy and disease. Self-determination is but a slogan if the future holds no hope."

"Self-government requires qualities of self-denial and restraint."

"Suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counterweapons."

"The basis of effective government is public confidence."

"The Family of Man is more than three billion strong. It lives in more than one hundred nations. Most of its members are not white. Most of them are not Christians. Most of them know nothing about free enterprise, of due process of law or the Australian ballot."

"The function and responsibility of the President is to set before the American people the unfinished business, the things we must do if we are going to succeed as a nation."