John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to by the initials JFK and Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Profoundly inspirational John F. Kennedy quotes on greatness, courage, country, education, and change will challenge the way you think.
If you’re searching for famous quotes by presidents of the United States that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Harry S. Truman, best Franklin D. Roosevelt quotes and greatest Jimmy Carter quotes.
Famous John F. Kennedy Quotes
If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
To further the appreciation of culture among all the people, to increase respect for the creative individual, to widen participation by all the processes and fulfillments of art – this is one of the fascinating challenges of these days.
The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose…and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.
Too often in the past, we have thought of the artist as an idler and dilettante and of the lover of arts as somehow sissy and effete. We have done both an injustice. The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often amid deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline.
For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation.
It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.
Let us not emphasize all on which we differ but all we have in common. Let us consider not what we fear separately but what we share together.
Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.
Rising tide lifts all boats.
But however close we sometimes seem to that dark and final abyss, let no man of peace and freedom despair. For he does not stand alone.
My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
I have said that control of arms is a mission that we undertake particularly for our children and our grandchildren and that they have no lobby in Washington.
I have pledged myself and my colleagues in the cabinet to a continuous encouragement of initiative, responsibility and energy in serving the public interest. Let every public servant know, whether his post is high or low, that a man’s rank and reputation in this Administration will be determined by the size of the job he does, and not by the size of his staff, his office or his budget.
It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.
Inspirational John F. Kennedy Quotes
We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
Our deep spiritual confidence that this nation will survive the perils of today — which may well be with us for decades to come — compels us to invest in our nation’s future, to consider and meet our obligations to our children and the numberless generations that will follow.
If freedom is to survive and prosper, it will require the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.
I have seen in many places housing which has been developed under government influences, but I have never seen any projects in which governments have played their part which have fountains and statues and grass and trees, which are as important to the concept of the home as the roof itself.
In the Chinese language, the word crisis is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity.
A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.
This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.
A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.
It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society – in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.
When I ran for presidency of the United States, I knew that this country faced serious challenges, but I could not realize – nor could any man realize who does not bear the burdens of this office – how heavy and constant would be those burdens.
Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in periods of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
And we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient — that we are only six percent of the world’s population — that we cannot impose our will upon the other ninety-four percent of mankind — that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity — and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.
Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right…not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.
My fellow Americans, let us take that first step. Let us…step back from the shadow of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step.
That is the question of the New Frontier. That is the choice our nation must make—a choice that lies not merely between two men or two parties, but between the public interest and private comfort—between national greatness and national decline—between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of normalcy—between determined dedication and creeping mediocrity. All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try.
…we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time.
Amazing John F. Kennedy Quotes
I have a nice home, the office is close by, and the pay is good.
Let us not despair but act. 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.
…I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.
I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty…an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft.
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
We can say with some assurance that, although children may be the victims of fate, they will not be the victims of our neglect.
I can imagine a no more rewarding career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worth while, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’
I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high—to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.
The Federal Budget can and should be made an instrument of prosperity and stability, not a deterrent to recovery.
For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, ‘hold office’; everyone of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.
But I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.
The stories of past courage…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.
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining – by filling three basic gaps in our anti-recession protection.
We have become more and more not a nation of athletes but a nation of spectators.
Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger, to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world – or make it the last.
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great — not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud — but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.
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.
And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
…what really counts is not the immediate act of courage or of valor, but those who bear the struggle day in and day out – not the sunshine patriots but those who are willing to stand for a long period of time.
The success of this Government, and thus the success of our Nation, depends in the last analysis upon the quality of our career services.
In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation.
United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
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.
Now let me make it clear that I believe there can only be one defense policy for the United States and that is summed up in the word ‘first.’ I do not mean first, but. I do not mean first, when. I do not mean first, if. I mean first — period.
We celebrate the past to awaken the future.