JFK_Inaugural - John F. Kennedy, "Inaugural...

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John F. Kennedy, “Inaugural Address”, 1961 John F. Kennedy set proud goals for his administration in 1961, promising that "a new generation of Americans" would march forth to do battle with "the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself." But the Kennedy administration was to be a brief one -two years and ten months from the "trumpet summons" of the inauguration to the muffled drums and caissons marching slowly up Pennsylvania Avenue in November 1963. This foreshortened story of beginnings and promises, then, is a hard one to interpret. Were the hopes real? Was the vitality an illusion? Was there substance behind the glittering style? Was the New Frontier a beckoning horizon or an armed border, a fresh direction or only a new rhetoric? Kennedy's inaugural address set the tone for his administration as few such addresses have ever done. The elevation, the magnetic tone of dedication and of hope comes across in the way of words chiseled in granite. Thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans have read these words on Kennedy's tombstone in Arlington National Cemetery. Ask yourself what the various publics listening to this speech would have understood by it. What would a civil rights worker have derived from it? A conservative congressman? A Pentagon policy planner? The Soviet foreign ministry? John F. Kennedy was never easy to evaluate, and his untimely death left a legacy of controversy and unanswered questions surrounding him that history may never resolve. Robert Marcus, late Chair of the History Dept at SUNY – Brockport. We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom symbolizing an end as well as a beginning-signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago. The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God. We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution.
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course HST 212 taught by Professor Wakfeild during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Brockport.

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JFK_Inaugural - John F. Kennedy, "Inaugural...

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