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First Inaugural Address
(John F. Kennedy)
Jan. 2o, 1961.

Brief introduction to the speaker:
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) John F. Kennedy was a war hero, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a U.S. senator for most of the 1950s. in November 1960, at the age of 43, John F. he became the
youngest man ever elected president of the United States. on Nov. 22, 1963, Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas, Tex., the fourth United States president to die by an assassin's bullet.
We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom. Symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning, signify- ing renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn betbre you,
and almighty God, the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The worried 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 forbears 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. 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, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness, or permit, the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which. we are committed today at home and around the world.

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
success of liberty

This much we pledge and more.

To those old allies, whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. 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 us asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our words that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny We sha1l not always expect to tind them supporting our view, but we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom, and to remember that in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe, struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it 's cannot save the 
few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge, to convert our good words into, good deeds, in a new alliance for progress to assist, free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile power s. Let al our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere ill the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last and best hope in an age age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support to prevent it from becoming merely a form for invective, to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and to enlarge the area in which it's written and run.

Finally to those nations who would make themselves our adversary we offer not a pledge, but a request, that both sides begin a new quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness, for only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt, can we be certain beyond doubt, that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nation take comfort from our present course, both sides over-burdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, and yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.

So let us begin aneW remembering on both sides that stability 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.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us, instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals, for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

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.

Let both sides unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah, to rsndo the herrny brrrdens rrnd let the oppressed go hee.

And, if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor not a new balance of powen but a new world of law, whel-e the
strong are just, and the weak secured, and the peace preserved. All this will not be finished in the first one hundrcd days, nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifietime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our cause. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to
give testimony to its national loyalty The graves of young Americans, who answered the caI1 to service, surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a cal1 to bear arms, though arms we need, not as a call to battle, though in battle we are, but a call to bear the burden of a long, twilight
struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny poverty disease, and war itself

Can we forge against these enemies, a grand and global alliance, north and south, east and west, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic

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. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people, or any other generation. The energy the faith, the devotion, which we bring to this endeavor,
will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

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 lbr the iieedom of men.

Finally whether you are citizens of A1nerica, or citizens of the world, ask of us here, the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. Wth a good conscience our
only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the Iand we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own

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