John Kennedy Quotations

1. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

2. Democracy and defense are not substitutes for one another. Either alone will fail.

3. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names

4. I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.

5. If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.

6. Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate.

7. Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.

8. Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.

9. Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

10. So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.

11. The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.

12. The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.

13. The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

14. The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied: "In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!"

15. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient - they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
16. The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. 

17. There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
18. Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.

19. We believe that if men have the talent to invent need machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work.

20. We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now.

21. We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch. 

22. We set sail on this new sea because there is knowledge to be gained.

23. We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others.

24. When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying they were.

25. The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.

26. Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain.

27. Probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius in this house except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.

28. 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 will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

29. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

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

31. 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.

32. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

33. Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.

34. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

35. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.

36. A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

37. The best road to progress is freedom's road.

38. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.

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

40. A young man who does not have what it takes to perform military service is not likely to have what it takes to make a living. Today's military rejects include tomorrow's hard-core unemployed.

41. 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.

42. A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.

43. Israel was not created in order to disappear - Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.

44. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

45. Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.

46. When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

47. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

48. Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.

49. A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today - and in fact we have forgotten.

50. 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.

51. Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.

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

53. The tax on capital gains directly affects investment decisions, the mobility and flow of risk capital...the ease or difficulty experienced by new ventures in obtaining capital, and thereby the strength and potential for growth in the economy.

54. The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.

55. A child miseducated is a child lost.

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

57. I hope that no American will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant.

58. History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.

59. Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.

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

61. When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

62. In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.

63. To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust.

64. Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.

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

66. The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.

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

68. Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.

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

70. I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President, who happens also to be a Catholic.

71. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.

72. 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.

73. Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.

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

75. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!"

76. I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.

77. Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process.

78. 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.

79. I think "Hail to the Chief" has a nice ring to it.

80. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.

81. Sure it's a big job; but I don't know anyone who can do it better than I can.

82. If anyone is crazy enough to want to kill a president of the United States, he can do it. All he must be prepared to do is give his life for the president's.

83. It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.

84. My brother Bob doesn't want to be in government - he promised Dad he'd go straight.

85. 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.

86. There is always inequality in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded and some men never leave the country. Life is unfair.

87. Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House.

88. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.

89. Politics is like football; if you see daylight, go through the hole.

90. The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.

91. I'm an idealist without illusions.

92. We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.

93. America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.

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

95. Khrushchev reminds me of the tiger hunter who has picked a place on the wall to hang the tiger's skin long before he has caught the tiger. This tiger has other ideas.

96. Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes...can no longer be of concern to great powers alone.

97. The pay is good and I can walk to work.

98. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds. A Harvard education and a Yale degree.

99. I don't think the intelligence reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of the New York Times.

100. I'm always rather nervous about how you talk about women who are active in politics, whether they want to be talked about as women or as politicians.

101. The United States has to move very fast to even stand still.

102. There are many people in the world who really don't understand-or say they don't-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!

103. We prefer world law in the age of self-determination to world war in the age of mass extermination.

104. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.

105. In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

106. Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.

107. The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways. 

108. The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.

109. Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is also true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on. 

What do you think of John Kennedy quotations?

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